by Dr. Scott Briggs
I have briefly talked in a previous blog about the current American diet, but I want to take a few paragraphs and return to this topic. If you are within 20 years of my age (52), we only know the diet of the food pyramid that was published in 1980 and was based on the 1977 findings of the ”Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs”. This committee stated that 55-60% of our daily caloric intake should come from carbohydrates. This pyramids foundation is formed by grains and starches, and it’s apex is fats and proteins.
The pyramid’s most noted changes came in the early 1990’s and resulted in the 1992 U.S. Food Pyramid that was based on the food pyramid from Sweden (interesting note, Sweden’s rate of death from heart disease is higher than in the U.S.). Science has continued to discount the validity of this pyramid resulting in the ”My Plate” theory that shows a white plate divided into four colored compartments giving some indication to a balanced diet by portion control but it is still very heavy on high carbohydrate consumption. An article published in 2000, ”Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for America”, outlines a dietary plan for the health of America that suggests we consume an estimated 300 grams of carbohydrates per day. This type of diet has been the healthy recommendation for as long as I can remember.
I began battling my weight at the age of 7 and therefore was forced to be very aware of my food choices as a young child. Please remember this was before the age of video games, cell phones, personal computers and the never ending selections of TV stations to choose. I played outside most days, winter and summer, riding my bicycle, playing sandlot baseball, football, sledding, shoveling snow, and numerous other activities. Breakfast included healthy hot cereals like oatmeal, Malt-O-Meal, or grits. If cereal wasn’t the choice then it was some kind of potato with an egg and whole wheat toast. Lunch was usually a turkey sandwich maybe some potato-chips and a piece of fresh fruit. Dinners were usually some potato or rice based casserole, chicken or pork with canned vegetables of some kind and potatoes or rice. My parents where feeding me the healthy diet my pediatrician recommended to help me lose weight and it just so happened to also be the most affordable. Despite all this effort with dietary changes, by the age of 12 I had been diagnosed with high blood pressure and was on medication for the next 4 years. I had become the more than pudgy boy, and as kids usually do, my classmates frequently pointed out my body shape. I began playing organized football in the 8th grade, mostly for more exercise. I also wrestled as a Freshman in high school to lose weight. Much to my frustration, I could not out exercise the diet I was eating, which I did not understand since I was eating ”healthy”. I entered my Junior year of high school and weighed in at 6 feet 4 inches tall and 220 pounds during my annual sports physical. Finally, my height and weight ratio was better and the resident family doctor took me off the blood pressure medicine.
As I talk to many of my patients and as I look around the streets and stores of this country, I see many people who very likely have the same story I do. They could not out exercise their diet either. For those of you who have never had much of a weight problem, but now that you are in your forties or fifties are beginning to see the onset of those chronic and degenerative diseases of, ”old age”. You know, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, and plain old body aches and pains each day. How about your parents, are there signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or Parkinson’s? I have to ask myself and I suspect you are asking the same, what is going on?
The long and short of it comes down to this. What has changed? The biggest change I see is this recommended diet that is based on high consumption of carbohydrates. Give this idea some thought. Ask around, your grandparents or great grandparents, do some digging on the diet of the Inuit or the isolated tribes of the rain forests. Study their dental health, the diseases they face, and their quality of life. Is this a direct corrilation, probably not. Should we learn from them, I think that would only be prudent. Should we be changing our understanding of a healthy diet, I would say this is the smartest place to start as we return to the God intended health of this beautifully created human body.
Wishing you great health,
Dr. Scott Briggs is the owner of Briggs Family Chiropractic in Converse, IN. He has been a chiropractor for over 15 years. He has invited everyone to join him in his health journey for 2022. You can visit the first post on this to receive free helpful downloads. Click HERE to find that post. You can also follow us on Instagram (@briggsfamiychiropractic).