Asian Food Pyramid: Can an Asian diet be low carb?
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) developed the Food Pyramid as a visual tool to help Americans eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. This interpretation of a healthy diet is very heavy on the consumption of grains such as white bread (or pseudo wheat bread), pasta and white rice as the primary source of carbohydrates in the diet.
There are deep scientific flaws in the standardized U.S. Food Pyramid, according to the Harvard University School of Public Health. One of the chief complaints raised in the Harvard report was bias.
The problem was that these efforts, while generally good intentioned, have been quite flawed at actually showing people what makes up a healthy diet. Why? Their recommendations have often been based on out-of-date science and influenced by people with business interests in their messages.
Image from OldwaysSPT.org
In other words, the U.S. Food pyramid is more about promoting American agriculture than encouraging the public welfare. No wonder Americans have gotten so fat.
How is the stereotypical Asian diet interpreted into the iconic U.S. Food Pyramid? A nonprofit group called Oldways created an Asian Food Pyramid for Asian Americans — and Americans who love Asian food. With an emphasis on rice, noodles and millet as the basis of the diet, it is just as carbohydrate-based as the U.S. Food Pyramid developed by the USDA.
We can narrow this down even further and look at the unique foods of the typical Korean diet, which is also heavily rice-based but also includes barley, buckwheat, millet and corn.
However, this overemphasis on grains — regardless of whether it’s a Western or Eastern diet — as the primary source of carbohydrates is one of the causes of the skyrocketing obesity epidemic in the U.S. What is a Korean foodaholic to do?
Basically, tip the Food Pyramid on its head, so the majority of the daily caloric intake comes from protein. The primary source of carbohydrates should be vegetables such as fiddlehead and dried fern stems, cabbage, red chili peppers, sea vegetables, spinach and legumes as well as low-sugar, high-fiber fruits such as Korean mountain raspberries, strawberries and blueberries.
If you need a substitute for rice in your Korean meals, try cauliflower rice. Finely grated cauliflower makes an excellent substitute for rice and mashed potatoes. It’s what I eat at Thanksgiving and other holidays, when starchy, high-carb foods are the norm. Mix in some butter, salt and pepper, and it really does make a worthy substitute for rice or mashed potatoes during holiday meals, or any meal.
The above opinionated views and information serves to educate and inform the consumer. The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. It should not replace professional advise and consultation. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.