Skip to comments.A New and Innovative Approach to the Food Pyramid
Posted on 02/12/2004 8:30:52 PM PST by restornu
Earlier this week, I was privileged to brief federal officials and members of the Bush administration, along with Mary C. Vernon, M.D. and Stephen B. Sondike, M.D., my two fellow members of the Atkins Physicians Council (APC). Our mission in going to Washington, D.C., was to deliver a proposal for a new and innovative food guide pyramid that supports a controlled-carbohydrate lifestyle. This way of eating could serve the needs of many of the more than 100 million Americans who are losing the battle against obesity. The Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid is designed to address the epidemic of obesity by providing an easy-to-follow nutritional strategy for achieving and/or maintaining a healthy weight. Atkins also informed the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that medical experts with Atkins Health & Medical Information Services (AHMIS) intend to file comments with the government's Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, based on the Atkins Nutritional Approach and its dietary philosophy.
As I explained in these high-level meetings, While we recognize there is no single nutritional solution for Americans battling overweight, obesity, diabetes and heart disease, clearly the existing Food Guide Pyramid and future versions that might continue to rely solely on low-fat, portion-control or calorie-counting approaches will not be helpful to many of the approximately 60 percent of our population who have been unsuccessful using these same strategies over the past few decades.
Over the course of two days, APC members briefed federal officials from the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA, the White House and key members of Congress on the growing need to combat the nation's obesity epidemic. Atkins has also made a submission to USDA Secretary Ann Veneman, and offered to follow up with a more detailed briefing. We presented the Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid (shown above) to federal officials as a tool to demonstrate the AHMIS commitment to support government efforts to combat Americas nutrition crisis in the decades to come.
Again, quoting from what I said to government officials: We are delighted that the USDA has come to terms with the need for individualization of nutritional approaches and is now proposing the development of as many as 12 new versions of the existing pyramid. We will work in the months to come to ensure that among these versions is a controlled-carbohydrate option based on the existing and emerging scientific research that supports the safety and efficacy of controlled-carbohydrate nutrition. As physicians, we need to provide the full spectrum of effective and safe options to the millions of Americans who are in need of an individualized weight-management plan they can follow. USDA surveys have shown that while 80 percent of Americans recognize the existing Food Guide Pyramid, very few heed its advice. Designing more practical and realistic versions of the pyramid, including those based on controlling carbohydrates, will go a long way toward empowering people with effective tools and choices to battle obesity.
Perhaps as importantly, the Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid should dispel the many myths and misconceptions about Atkins that have prevented more people from using this effective solution to weight control. The visual imagery of the Atkins pyramid and its accompanying information should provide clarity to those who misunderstand the Atkins program and mistakenly believe that eating many vegetables and fruits is not an integral part of doing Atkins properly. The Atkins pyramid should also put to rest the misleading claims by copycat diet-book authors whose supposedly healthier versions of the ANA are, at best, rank imitations or, at worst, unproven and potentially risky departures from the now scientifically validated ANA protocols.
According to Dr. Vernon, who is also vice president of the American Society of Bariatric Physicians: Its time to put aside all economic and philosophical self-interest and work together to focus on science-based medicine and nutrition. When it comes to re-educating the American public, this is a wake-up call that is well overdue. Armed with a better understanding of the health risks associated with uncontrolled consumption of certain carbohydrates, particularly white flour and added sugars, it is clear that Dr. Atkins long time goal of increasing carbohydrate awareness will go a long way toward improving the health and well-being of Americans.
We surely owe this to our children and the next generation of Americans, notes Dr. Sondike, one of the nations leading researchers on childhood and adolescent obesity and director of the Nutrition, Exercise and Weight Management Kids Program at the Childrens Hospital of Wisconsin. I feel that the controlled-carbohydrate approach may eventually be viewed as an even more critical tool for children than it is for adults. Were now faced with a generation of children who can expect to have a shorter life span than their parents if we dont move quickly to revolutionize nutrition and health care in this country. History may judge my generation of physicians on this alone.
The Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid is based on the writings and work of Dr. Atkins and, for the first time, graphically depicts in traditional food pyramid language what Dr. Atkins championed for more than 30 years. Based on Dr. Atkins work, the pyramid emphasizes a wide range of protein sources and nutrient-dense carbohydrates, such as most vegetable, certain fruits, nuts, dairy products and whole grains, that have a low impact on blood sugar. One of the benefits of this approach is that the average American can follow a controlled-carbohydrate lifestyle, eat until satisfied and achieve a healthy balance of fats and other nutrientsall without having to count portions or calories. It is well worth noting that this is the first food guide pyramid to take into account the impact of increasing physical activity on optimal nutrition. What better positive reinforcement for the many health benefits of improved fitness than the ability to enjoy an even broader range of food options as you increase your physical activity?
To further support the Atkins Lifestyle Food Guide Pyramid, AHMIS will sponsor a broad range of educational initiatives, including an ongoing series of conferences and seminars in Washington, D.C., and New York City; speaking engagements before consumer and professional health-care groups; publications; online informational resources; and educational tools for primary, middle-school and high-school teachers as well as health-care professionals.
We are pleased that Atkins now has a seat at the table as we collectively struggle with how government policy should influence the way in which people eat for both weight management and long-term health. In this spirit of shared concern, we welcome any comments you may have on this crucial subject.
Stuart Lawrence Trager, M.D. is chairperson of the Atkins Physicians Council, a practicing physician and a triathlete.
WoooHoooooo Thanks for the ping.
IT"S ABOUT TIME THEY GOT THE PYRAMID CORRECT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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