Industry News | November 14, 2011

New Food Pyramid for Blacks Launches

 African Heritage Diet Pyramid
image used with permission.

Oldways, along with an advisory team of experts, launched last week the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, a healthy-eating tool designed for African Americans.

This is the fifth pyramid Oldways has created using cultural models to inspire healthy eating.

The African Heritage Diet Pyramid is based on healthy activity, leafy greens, and varied amounts of vegetables grains and starches.

“We are introducing the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, because the traditional diets of the African Diaspora (Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the American South) offer a powerful, affordable, healthy eating model and meet the guidelines promoted today by health professionals everywhere,” says Sara Baer-Sinnott, president of Oldways.

“Scientific studies show that many chronic conditions now prevalent in African American communities, appear in populations as traditional diets are left behind.”

To create the pyramid, Oldways, a nonprofit food and nutrition organization, gathered a panel of experts, including nutrition scientists, health experts, and culinary historians. Made possible through a grant from the Walmart Foundation, the new pyramid offers a cultural model for healthy eating, connecting African American communities with their early Diasporan roots and sharing these healthy foods with the world.

“In my work with the African American community, I see a general lack of education in terms of the foods their ancestors prepared and enjoyed; today these food connections are all but lost,” says Constance Brown-Riggs, MSED, RD and author of The African American Guide to Living Well with Diabetes.

“This pyramid is an important new educational tool; it is an innovative way that we, as health professionals, can communicate with, connect to and educate African Americans.”

The African Heritage Diet Pyramid, which at a glance, depicts an overall total diet, encompasses the foods from the four African Diasporan regions (Africa, the Caribbean, South America, and the American South).

To accompany the pyramid, Oldways is also introducing 12 dishes and recipes to be used as expressions of the cuisines of specific cultures in these four regions. Plates show how to combine healthy foods on the pyramid into specific meals. 

To inspire and educate people about this healthy and affordable eating pattern, Oldways has also created a user-friendly African Heritage 101 brochure and an African Heritage & Health Portal on the Oldways website, which includes resources, grocery lists, recipes and other heritage information.

“The creation of the African Heritage Diet Pyramid is just the beginning of an initiative to build health through heritage in the African American community,” says Sarah Dwyer, Oldways Program Manager and the team leader for the African Heritage & Health Initiative. “Through our work with Oldways’ other healthy eating pyramids, we have seen what a valuable tool this can be. We are grateful to all our advisors and partners who share our passion for this mission and are helping us spread the message far and wide as we embark on this newest Oldways initiative.”

In addition to the African Heritage Diet Pyramid, Oldways has also created Mediterranean, Asian, Latin American and Vegetarian pyramids. 

Comments

Where would one be able to purchase poster of the AM Pyramid? Has this pyramid been ADA approved?, as well as the other cultural pyramids?

Why would approval be sought from an organization (ADA) sponsored by corporations selling the junk food that causes the diseases this pyramid is attempting to alleviate?

Where can I purchase the AM Pyramid and is it ADA approved. Do you have other cultural pyramids?

What a waste of money.....isn't one food pyramid enough? In fact one is one too many....Looking back over the generations, our forefathers survived nicely without the government or other agencies telling us what we should or shouldn't eat....Discipline and common sense should prevail, and with the vast amount of literature at everyone's disposal, unintelligent choices should not prevail.

What a waste of money.....isn't one food pyramid enough? In fact one is one too many....Looking back over the generations, our forefathers survived nicely without the government or other agencies telling us what we should or shouldn't eat....Discipline and common sense should prevail, and with the vast amount of literature at everyone's disposal, unintelligent choices should not prevail.

What a waste of money.....isn't one food pyramid enough? In fact one is one too many....Looking back over the generations, our forefathers survived nicely without the government or other agencies telling us what we should or shouldn't eat....Discipline and common sense should prevail, and with the vast amount of literature at everyone's disposal, unintelligent choices should not prevail.

I think it is always great having new tools to help individuals understand how to make healthy choices! However, isn't making another Pyramid taking a step backwards? I am currently using some version of the plate model with all of my clients (HTN, diabetes, CHF, etc.) and it is really helping them understand what a healthy meal looks like. Also, is the problem really that the "traditional diets are left behind" for this population or just that most Americans are eating too much and not moving enough?

The USDA dumpted the food pyramid mid-year in favor of the Healthy Plate. Old food pyramid too difficulat to understand and confused most.

The USDA dumped the food pyramid mid-year in favor of the Healthy Plate. Most say of pyramid was difficult to understand.

It is nice to see something definitive for African Americans. As a nutrition educator, it is nice to have a positive depiction of the foods that are traditionally eaten by this subpopulation. Our fore fathers ate from the land and worked from dawn to dusk to raise crops to feed their families. It is a very different scenario from today's populations that have pleniful food and energy-saving conveniences. This pyramid serves as a good reminder that our fore fathers got it right. They ate lots of dishes made from fruits, vegetables, seafood and dry beans. Physical activity was not an option, it was mandatory in order to survive. So I thank the people who came up with this pyramid. I will put it to use in my educational sessions.

The USDA dumped the food pyramid mid-year in favor of the Healthy Plate. Easier to understand.

Given that Type 2 diabetes is rampant in the African-American community, and excess carbohydrates are one of the main causes of Type 2 diabetes, why would grains, starches and other carbs form the majority of the recommended diet for this group, unless this organization is trying to promote disease? A moderate-to-high protein, high fat, low-to-medium carb paleo/primal diet is what benefits *all* humans. Why would one ethnic group require their own pyramid? Humans are genetically similar enough that the paleo/primal lifestyle works beautifully for everyone.

The ADA (American Dietetic Association) is not sponsored by corporations selling junk food. It is a professional organization that represents college educated Nutritionists of all backgrounds and nationalities. Information that is dispursed is based on evidence. One cannot comparing the ADA to a health food ads selling the latest fad foods, supplements, etc.

Fortunately for them, our forefathers did not have easily accessible high fat, high calorie foods thrust in front of them constantly throughout the day. Plus, our forefathers did work that involved regular physical activity. We live in a different world now. Take a walk through any average city and look around at all of the overweight and obese people. Also, food guides don't force you to eat certain foods. They are sources of information to help you make better choices. And what is so bad about the government providing some evidence based information to its citizens to help them make informed choices?

There's been a Soul Food Pyramid developed by two RDs for years. It's great, and I wonder why the need for yet another educational tool when the real issue is the need to change the whole food system and environment.

I belive this is a great education aspect to tackle. My boyfriend has been diaganosed with Type1 diabetes. I have learned though research there is no cure & it is not preventable. Through educational prevention methods millions of people will begin taking the initiative in their health. I would love to see this for all the major Ethinic/cultural groups and nationalities, therfore no one is left out.

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