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The Weekly News Source for Wyoming's Ranchers, Farmers and AgriBusiness Community

Here We Go Again

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

The Christmas holidays have passed, and our conscious has again surfaced to watch what we eat. I believe Christmas goodies are just too good to pass up.

The good news is the government has stepped in, and I’m saved – I now know what healthy foods to eat, I think. 

In the 1980s, the federal government recommended people not eat fatty foods or high-cholesterol foods, and to eat all of the carbs we wanted. During the 1990s, the government came out with a food pyramid developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and recommended we eat six to 11 servings a day of bread, pasta and rice, which were at the base of the pyramid. 

But, they also recommended we should only eat two or three servings of meat or eggs a day. This caused quite a stir with producers in the meat and egg business. Many blamed the food pyramid for the large spike in obesity of Americans in following years.

In 2011, USDA came out with “MyPlate” which was developed as a reminder to consumers to make healthier decisions on which foods to eat. The problem is, no one pays any attention to MyPlate.

A recent government study showed three out of four Americans have no idea what the MyPlate dietary guidelines are, so they completed another study, “Awareness of the MyPlate Plan: United States, 2017-March 2020,” published a couple weeks ago by the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) National Center for Health Statistics. This report showed MyPlate is virtually unknown among the eating public. Hey, our tax money at work!

The study’s authors surveyed more than 9,000 Americans over 16 years old, asking if they had heard of MyPlate and if so, whether they had ever used it. Overwhelmingly, the study found they had not.

According to the data, only one in four American adults has ever heard of MyPlate, and fewer than one in eight Americans had tried to follow MyPlate’s dietary recommendations. Most were women. Fewer than one in 25 men followed it.

The government knew people weren’t going to follow MyPlate from a 2005 survey conducted by a California olive oil trade group right after USDA modified its food pyramid. The survey found three out of four Americans believe their understanding of what the revised food pyramid means is less than good. The survey also found around two of three respondents said they had made no changes in their diet in response to the guidelines.

A number of ag organizations have been working tirelessly to keep beef, pork and lamb on the dietary guidelines. Is it necessary to have dietary guidelines if no one is paying attention to them? I believe it is necessary. We can’t let up and ignore these guidelines, especially since they are currently recognizing non-processed meats as healthy.

The surveys show more and more Americans don’t trust the government to tell them what to eat, and the government should have no role in making decisions about what we eat, especially around Christmas. The current food pyramid has almost become political.

There are some people who have no idea what is healthy to eat. The University of Wyoming College of Agriculture, Life Science and Natural Resources has a great program where qualified nutritionists help soon-to-be mothers and other people choose what foods to eat and how to prepare them. It is sad many Americans have no idea what and how to cook a meal in today’s day and age. I guess it’s why pizza is so popular. 

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