It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

The Other Food Pyramid

From Good Medicine Magazine:

Only on topic for this blog because it raises the perennial question: "Why is democracy so stupid?"


Aaron said...

Democracy is not stupid. It always follows the money.

Dan Satterfield said...

A picture paints a thousand words. Fabulous Michael. Am sure you have read Michael Pollan's piece in the NYT from a about a year ago...

Tony Wildish said...

while I see the point you are making, don't overlook how misleading that graphic is.

Take the one on the left, for example. If meat is 73.8% of the subsidies then it should represent 3/4 of the volume of the pyramid. It's clearly much more than that, so that's a very distorted representation.

ourchangingclimate said...

The relevance is even larger if you imagine how a graph would look like of the climate and environmental impacts of the different food groups. Meat and dairy have by far the most adverse effects.


jg said...

I rarely have criticism of your posts, but with this one I have to ask: making a point from the two graphs seems incomplete. I think there should be a third that shows what the average diet is. If this third one showed that people were getting close the the recommendation for meat, then I would argue that the subsidy makes this possible, and therefore is doing what subsidies are meant to do. This third graph may also show meat consumption over the recommendation, and therefore it would support your comment. Perhaps I don't see the point you're making, or the average diet is well known (but not to me). I welcome criticism.

thank you,

Michael Tobis said...

jg, yes I presume that it is well-known that Americans eat too much meat and dairy and not enough grains and vegetables.

I don't have actual evidence handy, but I did see a news report once to the effect that poor people do eat hamburgers because they can't afford a decent salad.


David B. Benson said...

The agriculture bill, whose name might be the Food and Farm Bill, is heavily influenced by the producers, very little by the consumers. The producers have kept coming back, using salami tactics, to obtain what they want. For support of this claim, read "Welfare Ranchers".

jg said...

Online I've been finding a lot of information about what is the standard American diet (great agreement that it's too fat, too sugary, too meaty) and a lot of numbers on it's health effects, but I can't find any numbers on what we're actually eating. I'm about to ask my grocery store, if I can convince them I'm not a spy from the competitor.

David, does Welfare Ranchers list any data on what we're consuming? Are there any great food and nutrition science bloggers out there?

Since I brought it up, I'll keep looking.


David B. Benson said...

jg --- The book is entirely about the fact that (most) ranchers in the West subsist, indeed prosper, solely because of very substantial handouts from DOA via the Food and Farm Bill, together with more handouts (in effect) via DOI/BLM. Sweet setup if you can get it.

There are several good blogs of food and nutrition but unfortunately I don't known enough to name even one.

seartho said...
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