Today our reference Food Guide ( the famous SENC 2004 pyramid , page 20) makes the greatest emphasis on what is beneficial to eat (ie, more frequently and in greater quantity than any other food group) in the group of foods derived from cereals . To do so, they appear on the first and largest rung of the pyramid and have thus been for a long time (past tense) in many food guides from other countries. I am referring to rice, pasta, bread and potatoes (although these are not of cereal origin, but they are included in the aforementioned Guide, I suppose, because they are rich in carbohydrates).
The origin of cerealofilia
That this is so, derives in large part from what happened in 1977 in the United States. At that time a series of nutritional guidelines for Americans was issued with which it was intended to combat through diet the main metabolic diseases that hit the population (those of all industrialized countries on the other hand). Thus, with the title Dietary Goals for the United States , (more specifically known as the ” McGovern Report “), a series of general guidelines were proposed in order to suggest, very briefly, some recommendations especially low in fat, with less cholesterol, less refined and processed sugars, and more complex carbohydrates and fiber .
These nuances are important because in fact it was the McGovern report that used the term complex carbohydrates for the first time . Thus, most of the consensus in the report focused on increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables and foods made mainly with whole grains. However, I do not know why, after the McGovern report the first North American guides (now in disuse) and that served to inspire those of many other countries (including the Spanish and to this day) put the greatest accents in foods made with cereals before in fruits, vegetables . Why was it done like this? With sincerity I do not have the certainty, but my opinion is that it could be due to the pressures of the industrial sectors involved. No news on the other hand, because if something characterized that report McGovern was just that … how the different sectors involved pressed to change the wording of the final report. In fact, within the report itself, it is contrasted that television advertising of cereal-based foods was several orders of magnitude higher than that of fruits and vegetables. And if the advertising was greater (as today) the income derived from it also. Would someone be willing to load up the chicken of the golden cereals , well for good? Well, that, and it is only an opinion.
Important: cereals are usually more than cereals
Another problem is that when someone talks about “cereal-based foods” (even if they are whole) at the same time, the door opens for other highly processed foods to enter that same rung, and very usually rich in refined sugars. What’s more, as Dr. David Ludwig of the Harvard Medical School says: ” So much does it cost you to eat a bowl of cereals without added sugar, than a bowl of sugar without added cereals ” (see documentary in this post , minute 30:10). In the end, the metabolic response will be almost identical. On the subject of “healthy” cereals, I suggest you take a look at this post about how they can help “take care of the line ” of Lidia Folgar – @ Lidia_Folgar-)
The fact is that while in other countries most of the recommendations have long been changed by passing the food from cereals at least to a plane of less importance than fresh vegetables, in Spain the guidelines remain the same … and the worst is that apparently in this post they look like continuing in the same direction.
There is nothing wrong in giving the fair and in my opinion adequate presence in food guides to this group of foods, but we should leave things clear enough for the citizen to understand that generally, when rice is said, it means whole grain rice, that when pasta is said, it should also be integral, that with the same bread, that other cereals also have a place in that niche, more or less unusual in our environment … but above all, what should be to make clear, is that in this group of foods does not have room for biscuits, pastries, or breakfast cereals or bars of such low in fat that are . No, first of all, about this group of foods what is at issue is to promote the unrefined foods that each one cooks at home . The culture of “live the cereals” and put them on the first step, has served to put a goal across the square in public health policies that to some extent have paid and are still paying citizens.
Thus, while the message about the consumption of food from cereals is not minimized, while detailing and clarifying what is meant and getting the citizens to know about this food group, the confusion will continue to be important for delight. of a good part of the food industry , of the Spanish , that living on the income of “low fat”, and that putting flaps in their ads, it seems that it serves to everything else to take a back seat.
In a nutshell, cereal foods do, but:
- Leaving being the “base” of the pyramid or the center of any general recommendation ;
- Punctualizing (as is already done, but with very little force in my opinion) that the presence of the integrals has to be a majority compared to the refined and;
- Emphasizing that processed foods , no matter how “cereal” or “with cereals” they are, do not fit into these recommendations (which for now are mine) … Let’s say that if you have more than four ingredients (and I’m generous) better than let’s forget