images: PCRM & MyPyramid.gov
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine filed suit last week against the US Department of Agriculture and the the Department of Health and Human Services in US District Court for the District of Columbia, alleging the the agencies violated federal law in failing to respond to a PCRM petition advocating a plant-based food pyramid as an alternative to USDA's "MyPyramid" dietary guidelines. PCRM's nutrition education advisor Susan Levin, quoted in the LA Times:
We are asking the government to protected the average American, not special agribusiness interests. MyPyramid is confusing, and it recommends meat and dairy products despite overwhelming evidence that these foods are unnecessary and unhealthy. Research shows Power Plate is a better choice, and it's simple enough that a child could follow it.
In case you're unfamiliar with it, Power Plate is a dietary recommendation chart developed by PCRM which includes no animal products in it whatsoever. Rather than recommending a hierarchy of foods as do more familiar food pyramid diet charts, Power Plate just recommends eating a variety of what they call The New Four Food Groups daily ("new" since 1991 when PCRM first began the campaign): 3 or more servings of fruits, 2 or more servings of Legumes, 5 or more servings of Whole Grains, and 4 or more servings of Vegetables. Representative sizes of what contribute a serving size in each food group are listed.
TreeHugger has covered the ongoing obesity epidemic in the US (and to varying degrees in much of wealthy world), but LA Times points out two more sobering stats: 1) About 27% of young adults are not too overweight to qualify for military service; 2) About 33% of children born in 2000 are expected to develop diabetes.
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More on Vegetarianism:
No, This Is Why You're Fat!
Try a Weekday Vegetarian Diet: Eat Green Food Without Taking The Plunge
Vegetarian Diet Cold Cut Climate Change Mitigation Costs by 70%