Friday, June 10, 2011

The Cenegenics Food Plate: Plates Break, But Diamonds Are Forever

I'm glad they finally decided to get rid of the antiquated Food Pyramid, but I don't see the introduction of the Food Plate as an improvement so much as a change. Visuals are a very important tool for nutrition counseling, and the Food Plate isn't simple. It's actually very confusing. 

After realizing the many drawbacks of the Food Pyramid, I created the Cenegenics Food Diamond in 2008. Even though diamonds are rigid, the Food Diamond is actually very flexible.  I chose the diamond shape because, like individuals' diets, no two diamonds have the same shape. The Food Diamond is customizable - by altering the shape of the diamond, you can change the distribution of the food. If i was devising a Food Diamond for someone with kidney disease, lean protein would become less important than fruits. Vegetable protein would become more important than animal protein. I could similarly design a unique Food Diamond for people with conditions like arthritis, diabetes or heart disease, and each would take on the shape of a multifaceted diamond. 

The Food Diamond incorporates all the important aspects of nutrition. At a glance, you can recognize the importance of water, exercise, and vegetables versus fruit in a very simplistic way. It provides the opportunity to understand that all fats aren't created equal, and they can (and should) be used strategically. There is no reason to eliminate grains, but it's necessary to clarify that many can be harmful. 

Additionally, I would keep people, especially children, away from the dairy the Food Plate recommends. Dairy is laden with a lot of problems, and it's not all hormone-free. There are much better sources where you can get the critical nutrients found in dairy. Dairy was important 100 years ago. Now, we live in an industrialized world where we provide better sources of natural products that are raised in an appropriate fashion. I can live without cheese. I can't live without minerals and water.

The public needs simplicity. It needs a picture that helps people understand that one diet 'shape' may not apply to everybody. With its overgeneralization and lack of detail, the Food Plate allows for bad foods to be added to the plate. It took the government14 years to change the Food Pyramid, and who knows how much longer it will take to get it right. The problem is, as knowledge expands, we don't make changes. We need to start over with a solid foundation.

Remember: Plates break, but diamonds are forever.

1 comment:

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