The matter is complicated by the fact that foods only list whole proteins in the nutrition facts. In third world countries where food is scarce and meat is at a premium, the primary fare is rice and beans, which combine to form a complete protein.
The primary failing of the food pyramid is that the USDA was under pressure to communicate simply to a vast number of people with varying ages, levels of education, and backgrounds. "Nutritionists fell victim to a desire to simplify their dietary recommendations" (Willett 23). Ultimately, dietary concepts must be applied at an individual level. The issue with my diet was not too little or too much of anything; rather, it was a saturation of unhealthy foods with a high percentage of saturated fat and a minimal amount of protein and a modest amount of carbohydrates. While the low calorie-count was indeed a positive attribute, it would be more prudent to choose a diet lower in saturated fat and higher in complex carbohydrates, protein, and fiber.
Vitamins and minerals are exempt from the food pyramid. Apparently due to irreducible complexity, most Americans conduct their supplementary-substance lives with an only a handful of half-baked stereotypes to guide them. Still, these conventions are often just accurate enough to be helpful.
A lack of vitamin C causes scurvy. In fact, sailors found that after their organic rations had been depleted, the only available cure to Cheadle's disease was seaweed, a plant which (as it happens) is high in vitamin C the majority of Americans firstly lack access to seaweed, and secondly have access to plenty of additional sources thereof. It is the best publicized of all the vitamins, and supplements are abundant. While the average vitamin C intake for the week of October 10th and October 16th was only two thirds of the RDA (recommended daily allowance) of sixty milligrams, 500mg supplements are common and can be taken as needed.
Vitamin D can be found in whole milk. This stereotype was founded when the milk industry found itself without a politically correct name for milk from which no fat had been removed. The term "Vitamin D Milk" is now in household usage. Of the recommended five micrograms of vitamin D, I ate only.309, or less then ten percent of the recommended daily allowance. However, a reasonable amount of exposure to sunlight allows the skin to produce sufficient vitamin D, and the supplementation of eggs or whole milk to my diet can alleviate any harmful deficiency.
Other vitamins, lacking the publicity of the aforementioned vitamins, do not have the easily-accessible stereotypes and their consumption is frequently left to chance. My own diet lacked a complete amount of every single vitamin with the oddball exception of vitamin B-12. This is probably thanks to the invention of the fortified breakfast cereal, which generally contain a generous percentage of a number of vitamins and minerals. Eggs and milk also contribute to vitamin B-12 levels.
Likewise, minerals in my diet were singularly lacking. Calcium intake was particularly low, with an average under a third of the RDA. Magnesium and Iron both averaged under half the RDA. Not even one mineral was eaten in an adequate quantity over the week of October 10th to October 16th, which is an indication that further steps should be taken to ensure that I receive the proper nutrition.
While misinformation is rampant in the field of nutrition, each person is ultimately responsible for their own diet, since it is they who will have to live with the consequences of malnutrition. Given the results of this dietary analysis, a change is clearly in order.
Clerk, Nancy. "Protein Power: How Much Protein Do You Really Need?" LookSmart, Find Articles. July-Aug. 1997. American Fitness. 24 Oct. 2006 http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0675/is_n4_v15/ai_19575701.
Greene, Lisa. "Food Pyramid History." The USDA Food Pyramid. University of Florida. 24 Oct. 2006 http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Fall02/Greene/history.htm.
Willett, Walter C., and Meir J. Stampfer. "Rebuilding the Food Pyramid." Scientific American 17 Dec. 2002: 23-28.
MyPyramid.Gov." United States Department of Agriculture. USDA. 24 Oct. 2006 http://www.mypyramid.gov/.
USDA Food Guide Pyramid." Weight Loss Resources. 03 Mar. 2003. USDA. 24 Oct. 2006 http://www.weightlossresource.com/resources/food-pyramid.cfm.