A nonprofit doctors’ organization is suing two federal agencies for ignoring a vegetarian alternative to the traditional food pyramid — despite skyrocketing obesity and diabetes rates.
In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine says the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services violated federal law by failing to respond to a PCRM petition offering a simple, plant-based alternative — the Power Plate — as an alternative to MyPyramid, the USDA’s name for its food pyramid.
“We are asking the government to protect the average American, not special agribusiness interests,” said registered dietitian Susan Levin, the organization’s nutrition education director. “MyPyramid is confusing, and it recommends meat and dairy products despite overwhelming evidence that these foods are unnecessary and unhealthy. Research shows the Power Plate is a better choice, and it’s simple enough that a child could follow it.”
To see the Power Plate, click here.
Since the first USDA food pyramid was introduced nearly 20 years ago, obesity and diabetes have become commonplace. About 27 percent of young adults are now too overweight to qualify for military service, and an estimated one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes.
The lawsuit charges that the federal government should address the worsening epidemics of obesity and diet-related diseases by withdrawing the MyPyramid diagram and adopt the Power Plate food diagram and dietary guidelines.
The Power Plate graphic is based on current nutrition research showing that plant-based foods are the most nutrient-dense and help prevent chronic diseases. The graphic depicts a plate divided into four new food groups: fruits, grains, legumes and vegetables. There are no portion sizes and food hierarchies to follow; the Power Plate instead recommends eating a variety of all four of its food groups each day.
Linda Shrieves can be reached at email@example.com or 407-420-5433.
Used with permission of the Orlando Sentinel, copyright 2011