In 1992, the United States Department of Agriculture issued its ?Food Guide Pyramid?. Geometrically, with the base of a pyramid being the largest portion, foods were pictured here to illustrate they were to be the biggest part of a healthy diet. Vegetables, fruits, and grains became the foundation to healthy eating. Meats were pictured at the very top of the pyramid, along with dairy products, illustrative of how meats were now relegated to the smallest part of a healthy diet. For almost 20 years, with some variations to include preferences by vegetarians and vegans, this food pyramid has stood the test of time and research to emerge as the new standard for a healthier America.
With our knowledge of this new food guide, why have obesity statistics continued to spiral out of control? For one reason, weight loss diets abound, offering a quick fix to a lifetime of poor eating habits. Another reason is the fast-paced schedule most people have as part of their lives which, all too often, involves fast-food meals. Notoriously loaded with fat and empty calories, fast food is suggested as the largest contributor to America?s problems with obesity. Visits to drive-through windows on the way home from work give people pre-made meals, with paper wrappings and paper plates for no cleanup afterward. The price they pay is not only for the convenience of a ready-made meal, but it is also for compromising their health.