The USDA originally designed the food pyramid in 1894 to offer advice and a safe food supply to the American public. You first learned about the food pyramid and the 4 basic food groups in grade school as a healthy way to eat. We’ve been getting fatter ever since.

The original pyramid was comprised of Milk and Meat, Cereals, Vegetables and Fruits, Fats and Fatty foods, and lastly Sugars and Sugary foods. They discovered that following such a pyramid was also a more efficient way for farmers to fatten pigs and cows. During the 1940s, the Roosevelt administration amended the pyramid into seven sections and came up with Recommended Daily Allowances (because it was cheaper and dealt with rationing issues in World War 2). The seven sections proved so confusing they reverted to the basic 4 food groups (milk, meats, fruits, grains) for over a generation. A smarter choice would have been to return to the original 5 groups. The pyramid has since been altered so many times the entire concept becomes misleading.

The FDA one thing right in 1996, their survey uncovered there are so many recommendations that the public finds it hard to know what to believe.

It’s even worse today.

Purported Health Food companies have been irresponsibly labeling their products. They box up food the same as the big corporate companies. The labeling laws leave so much wiggle room that using the word ‘organic’ is almost meaningless. Forgot about ‘natural’.

This has gone on for a century.

In the 1980s we were told to move away from animal fats and butter and go toward margarine because it was better. As it turns out that was a mistake. Almost nothing synthetic is better than reasonable amounts food from food that is made from stuff that grows from the ground or comes from a real animal. (I shouldn’t need to mention that animals should not be fed synthetics and growth hormones either).

Restaurant food tastes so goods because chefs use large amounts of salt and butter to get it that way. At least most chefs/restaurateurs will admit to this. They are not trying to make us healthy just put out a tasty meal.
The restaurant chains are even worse since they need to replicate the same flavor profile across a network of establishments with varying culinary ‘talent’ and salt and sugar is the easy way to do this. Americans have become so accustom to that flavor profile that everything else is bland.

Portion control would be preemptive in improving diets. And regular exercise.

Your choice of pre-packed meal or canned side dish can offer you anywhere from 20% to 50 % of your daily recommended intake of sodium per serving, which shows just how efficient American business can be. Get all your salt in one easy sitting, no need to break it up over a whole day and three squares.

Then they are the health foodies advocating every new kind of food and diet. These faddists, give them some credit they haven’t been around long enough for anyone to find out they might be actually unhealthy, purport lifestyles are usually tough to live by. Where can you find the ingredients unless you are near a metropolitan area? These diets can be unbalanced too, which can cause a myriad of health issues 20 years down the line.

Go paleo you’ll lose weight. Eat too much red meat you’ll die 20 years earlier. Eat too much bread — you’ll get fat and die 20 years earlier.

Grilling may cause cancer. White sugar causes cancer. Eat more fruit, but not at night (that’s kind of true it turns to sugar and adds to weight issues). Don’t eat the pesticide laden dirty dozen (apples, peaches, nectarines, blueberries, celery, spinach, lettuce, kale, potatoes, bell peppers, imported grapes, and strawberries), some of which are called super foods. Anti-oxidants will keep you from aging, but they may not work. Go raw. Eat only food you’ve sprouted in your own kitchen. Eat only vegan. Or is vegetarian better? What is the difference? Can I wear leather shoes if I’m a vegan?

Some newly discovered super food from the Amazon or India which the natives have been ingesting for thousands of years and has a name you cannot pronounce will cure all your aliments and set you on a path to nutritional nirvana. But did you ever notice how those natives actually look?

Why does the cafeteria at work smell bad? Or like ammonia? The government says washing ground meat in ammonia will not hurt us. Or hurt us less than the germs that would not be killed otherwise.

Sea food is good for you because it is rich in Omega 3. The mercury in the seafood will kill you later.

Everybody seems to have some sort of food allergy that wasn’t around 30 years ago. It’s the government’s fault.

People are going Gluten free solely to lose weight, following ‘celeb diets of the week’, notwithstanding those with celiac disease who must eat gluten free. Any actor, celebrity or pseudo celeb can get a cookbook published and throngs of people will believe it.

These are some of the claims people must read these days trying to figure out what they should eat and what is healthy. I’ve just touched the surface. One can see how difficult it would be to stick to one of these trendy lifestyles.

Here is what I recommend and you can take it for what is worth. Try to buy farm fresh food, in season, from a farmer who seems responsible and is not out to gouge you (there are those who over-charge because they seem to think they can fool people into paying more because its grown locally and without harmful chemicals. I’ll pay a little more to support the local farmers but don’t hold me hostage.) Look for meat labels that say hormone free. Eat everything in moderation, including the amount of what you eat. Buy as little as possible that is pre-packaged and in a box. Don’t believe it is healthy because the company says so. Eat breakfast at home.

Find a good butcher and learn their name.

More importantly, find a better baker.