Death by Food Pyramid: A Book Summary
This remarkable book uncovers some common misconceptions about the famous food pyramid as well as the politics behind the publicity of our nation’s nutrition and diet. The author makes it clear that each food industry has an agenda, and more often than not, this agenda is always to make more money. So what we see as advice from white lab coat doctors and the government about what is “good” nutrition and how our plates should look, is actually a compilation of many backdoor deals made with the companies involved. Like dairy companies, for example, have been causing a lot of confusion for consumers for decades. Especially if they believe that they have not been advertised enough.
Here is an example from the book: “A man by the name of J. Yidkin Davis published a book discussing the dangers of high intake of sugar and refined sugar. And he was slandered by no other than – the sugar industry, calling his writing “science fiction”. Four years later, after a series of uphill legal battles by Davis, his critics retracted their stateent and came to a “settlement”.
Another prime example is when the meat and dairy industry put a halt to the release of the food pyramid because they did not like how their product was being advertised. They said that since they had such a small section of the pyramid that people would not buy their product, and this could negatively affect their sales targets. These examples just go to show that big businesses do control things, and they have an influence on what you can even read whether it’s good or bad for you in the long term.
The book is not saying that we have to doubt every single thing you hear. However, it advises that we ought to have a healthy dose of skepticism and try to peel back the curtain if possible. We must use critical thinking to evaluate the experts. Some people will say with absolute certainty that their diet and what they believe about nutrition is correct but the author tells us to be wary of these people. There is no holy grail and not one right answer, as much as we would like that to be true. Death by Food pyramid stresses the individuality in nutrition and that consumers must realize that there is no one size fits all approach.
However, the reader is provided with some nutritional advice based on scientific research. The first of these is that smoking and being sedentary highly increase the risk of heart disease and other illnesses such as cancer. Serum cholesterol concentration is an important risk factor for coronary heart disease, so if it is possible to get blood work done and find out what your levels are is a highly encouraged practice. We are also reminded to lower our intake of refined carbs and saturated fats. And also prompted to eat the other parts of meat. In the American diet, we are accustomed to eating “muscle meat”. This book says that by solely eating the muscle, and neglecting the fatty parts of meat, means we are missing out on some vitamin, nutrient-rich substances that the skin, connective tissue, bones, and liver can provide.
The cooking method of grilling, placing the raw meat directly on a flame, is also a risk factor for carcinogens. Instead, a better way of our meat being cooked is using gentle cooking methods like stewing and steaming for the bulk of your meat, and if you cook meat on high heat surfaces continuously turn, do not let HA and PAH’s build up.
Many people are missing micronutrients. Some that are common are- vitamin A, B12, K2, Omega-3 fats. So take supplements to compensate for this. The advice given to vegetarians is this: increase beta-carotene absorption to avoid vitamin-A insufficiency, get a vegan form of vitamin D3, take B12, to keep thyroid in good shape by eating food sources high in iodine, and limit intake of imitation meats.
The book concluded with simple, concise advice: Be critical, accept that what worked for one person may not work for you, lead a more active lifestyle, lower stress, and follow this tidbit on the proper nutritional advice: Omit refined flour, refined sugar, processed vegetable oils, preservatives, fast food.