I'm getting a lot of flak for saying that pizza—not Valentine's Day candy—could single-handedly ruin our kids' eating habits.
So let me clarify: All I meant to say is that our diets are out of whack. Not because of Valentine's Candy—or because of candy in general—but because of pizza. And other grain products.
To meet current dietary recommendations, Americans would have to reduce our total grain consumption by 27%.
Imagine reducing your grain intake by 27%. We're a grain-crazy country.
Add up all the bread, bagels, cereals, crackers, pretzels, granola bars, cookies, pasta, pizza, tacos, rice, popcorn and other grain-stuff your kids load up. Then comopare this group to everything else your kids eat. See what I mean?
I have nothing against pizza. I was making an argument about proportion.
Proportion is one of the three habits of healthy eating. (Variety and moderation are the other two.)
- If 1 in every 6 kids between the ages of 2 and 5 is eating pizza on any given day, then we're a country of people who eat too much pizza.
- A healthy diet is not one that is dominated by one kind of food. Particularly if that food is a huge source of saturated fat and sodium. But even if you're diet were dominated by peas it would not be considered a healthy diet.
You know most people are eating a distorted diet when pizza is the second largest source of refined grains.
And since most people eat refined, not whole grains, I think it is safe to say that pizza is the second largest source of grains in the American diet. Not cereal. Not rice. Pizza.
From the habits perspective, a diet that is dominated by pizza is bad news.
One study found that pizza was the #5 source of calories for kids between the ages of 4-8. It was the #2 source of calories for kids between the ages of 9-13.
More proof that habits earned early in life tend to stick around.
I discuss all these ideas in It's Not About the Broccoli.
~Changing the conversation from nutrition to habits.~
Additional Source: Possible Implications for U.S. Agriculture from Adoption of Select Dietary Guidelines; Reedy, J. and S. Krebs-Smith. 2010. “Dietary Sources of Energy, Solid Fats, and Added Sugars Among Children and Adolescents in the United States.” Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110(10): 1477-84.