MyPyramid Under New Attack
The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services are being sued by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) for ignoring its petition to replace MyPyramid, the government’s current food guide, with Power Plate, a plant-based alternative.
PCRM nutrition education director Susan Levin criticizes MyPyramid for including meat, saying there is “overwhelming evidence” that meat and dairy products are “unnecessary and unhealthy.” Other groups have claimed that MyPyramid may recommend too many carbohydrates and fats.
Fighting Obesity With Veggies
The Power Plate is a circular graphic, showing a plate divided into four equal sections: fruits, grains, legumes, and vegetables. PCRM states that it is easy to follow because the graphic recommends that the average person needs a mixture of each of these food groups a day to make a varied, balanced diet. It also advises adding a multivitamin or fortified foods as a way of getting enough vitamin B12.
PCRM is suing the Department of Agriculture and HHS because they claim the government is not doing enough to battle the obesity epidemic. With 27% of young Americans too overweight to enroll in the military and a prediction that 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes, the lawsuit says that the government must withdraw the MyPyramid and its promotion of animation products to address this crisis.
Additionally, PCRM says that MyPyramid supports special agribusiness interests, alluding to factory farms and other large scale animal-product production facilities.
Challenging Their Motivation
PCRM’s pro-vegetarian agenda influences its redesign of the food guide. A non-profit organization, PCRM describes itself as “Doctors and laypersons working together for compassionate and effective medical practice, research, and health promotion.” Their research and promotion of plant-based health is part of their overall mission to reduce and remove dependence on animal products in food, experimentation, and education.
Many groups, including the National Council Against Health Fraud, have accused PCRM of being a “pseudo-physicians group,” with less than 1% of its members holding medical degrees, and a front group for the animal rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).