Wednesday, September 26, 2007

New Swiss food pyramid allows more fat

Swiss food pyramid
The new guidelines lower the recommended carb amount from 60 to 45 percent, raise protein from 10 to 15 percent and raise fat from 30 to 40 percent, according to Paolo C. Colombani, head of the Swiss food pyramid expert group. Colombani puts the value of some public recommendations about nutrition into question, saying that there is no sufficient evidence to prove that saturated fats are bad for health. The new Swiss food pyramid has been in use for two years and its impact on the amounts of food components has been analyzed recently at the ETH Zurich.

In an article in the Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung of today Colombani points out that mother's milk contains high amounts of saturated fats, and there is no better food for a baby than mother's milk. Fats have been said to be harmful for the heart, but the heart takes 60 to 90 percent of its energy out of fat. And the vast majority of published studies in the past fifty years have shown no adverse effects of saturated fats.

Given the fact that food pyramids are changed every couple of years, that they look different in every country, sometimes stratified horizontally (the original idea of the pyramid) and sometimes vertically as in the new American food pyramid, we have to ask ourselves if they are useful at all.

Food pyramids may even do harm in promoting restricted eating, that is, eating by prescription rather than by one's own feeling of hunger and satiety.

Photo credit: Swiss Society for Nutrition

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