Earlier this year Nutrition Australia released a new Healthy Eating Pyramid to serve as a “simple visual guide to the types and proportions of foods that Australians should eat every day for good health”.
It contains the five core food groups, plus healthy fats, according to how much they contribute to a balanced diet based on the Australian Dietary Guidelines (2013).
The most notable change has been to the status of grains. Grain-based foods have been removed from the foundation layer and replaced by fruit and vegetables. Meaning fruit and vegetables should now make up 70 per cent of our diet, rather than grain-based foods.
What I suspect behind the scenes is that the ‘experts’ are saying something like: “Because of gluten sensitivity becoming a force in our societies, we must have had it wrong, so we suggest that everyone reduce all cereal grain-derived foods, across the board”.
So while the change brings the Healthy Eating Pyramid a little closer to the paleo-friendly diet I recommend, it still has a long way to go.
Let’s take a look at food pyramids (if they’d existed) throughout human history…
According to anthropology, a food pyramid for Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers in North-East Africa, from 250,000 to 60,000 years ago would look like this:
Now the food pyramid for Homo sapiens hunter-gatherers in Eurasia, from 60,000 to 14,000 years ago would look like this:
So then evolved the early Eurasian Agricultural/civilised diet, from about 14,000 to 200 BP:
And finally the industrial-agricultural-civilised diet of recent times:
Now consider the new Healthy Eating Pyramid- can you see a trend toward a paleo-friendly diet?
Quinoa in the pyramid
Another thing to note is the new Healthy Eating Pyramid lists quinoa under grains. But quinoa is NOT a grain. It is actually from the same family as beetroots and spinach and the part of the quinoa plant we eat is the seed.