NEWS STORY: Food pyramid, USDA sued by doctors' group that wants vegetarian alternative
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Doctors' group sues USDA over vegetarian alternative to food pyramid
By Linda Shrieves
January 6, 2011
A nonprofit doctors' organization is suing two
federal agencies for ignoring a vegetarian
alternative to the traditional food pyramid -
despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for
the District of Columbia, the Physicians
Committee for Responsible Medicine says the U.S.
Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services violated federal law by
failing to respond to a PCRM petition offering a
simple, plant-based alternative - the Power Plate
- as an alternative to MyPyramid, the USDA's name
for its food pyramid.
"We are asking the government to protect the
average American, not special agribusiness
interests," said registered dietitian Susan
Levin, the organization's nutrition education
director. "MyPyramid is confusing, and it
recommends meat and dairy products despite
overwhelming evidence that these foods are
unnecessary and unhealthy. Research shows the
Power Plate is a better choice, and it's simple
enough that a child could follow it."
To see the Power Plate, click here:
Since the first USDA food pyramid was introduced
nearly 20 years ago, obesity and diabetes have
become commonplace. About 27 percent of young
adults are now too overweight to qualify for
military service, and an estimated one in three
children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.
The lawsuit charges that the federal government
should address the worsening epidemics of obesity
and diet-related diseases by withdrawing the
MyPyramid diagram and adopt the Power Plate food
diagram and dietary guidelines.
The Power Plate graphic is based on current
nutrition research showing that plant-based foods
are the most nutrient-dense and help prevent
chronic diseases. The graphic depicts a plate
divided into four new food groups: fruits,
grains, legumes and vegetables. There are no
portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the
Power Plate instead recommends eating a variety
of all four of its food groups each day.
These four food groups provide the good nutrition
you need. There is no need for animal-derived
products in the diet, and you're better off
without them. Be sure to include a reliable
source of vitamin B12, such as any common
multiple vitamin or fortified foods.
Linda Shrieves can be reached at lshrieves@... or 407-420-5433.
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