I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on the health benefits of different styles of eating.
From allergenic foods to anti-inflammatory foods, I’ve gone through most of the major theories.
And you know what I’ve found?
In terms of risk of chronic disease, inflammation, oxidative stress, and quality of life nothing beats simply eating less.
In fact, most diet styles from Vegetarian to Paleo can be extremely healthy, especially when combined with eating less (or at least not overeating).
So this begs the question – What the hell are we doing with these confusing ‘food pyramids’?
I mean really – do they help or do they simply confuse?
In my mind their main benefit seems to be their ability to ignore the giant pink elephant that is calorie intake.
So, I’m going to throw my hat into the ring and present what I think would be a food pyramid that would actually create a massive benefit in the health of a nation that would choose to adopt it.
(Please keep in mind this a work in progress and is meant for the general population – so elite athletes and many disease states would be excluded)
So here we go…the Pilon Pyramid:
In this example the number IN THE PYRAMID represents the AVERAGE number of meals taken per day, with a ‘meal’ being any food or drink consumed that meet a certain minimum caloric requirement, which would be dependent on the age category.
As an example 25+ years of age would have a meal being anything over 200 Calories, where as for the 2-15 range a meal couple be anything over 50 Calories (this is just a ‘guess’ as my expertise is NOT pediatrics or children’s nutrition).
Focusing on the adults, the basic plan would work like this, anything under 200 would be free and not count as a meal.
Anything over is a meal, so if you are going to go over and have a 400 Calories super-mocha-caramel-frappa-coffee you may as well have a sandwich because this is going to count as one of your meals.
The goal would be to greatly reduce ‘snacking’ and hidden calories, increasing time spent ‘not eating’ and cutting down on the overall calories an adult eats.
This plan would allow for all sorts of eating styles, from Eat Stop Eat, to Veganism to Paleo to you name it.
It graduates the frequent eating needs of infants into a less frequent style of eating for adults who have finished growing in height and have greatly reduced needs for frequent meals.
Obviously the idea is rough, but by focusing on meals we can focus on creative and constructive ways to address the actual problem (calories) while still being open to most major forms and styles of eating.
(and again – a work in progress)