Hey Ireland! The 80’s called, they want their dietary advice back

You'd probably be better of turning this pyramid upside down

New and obsolete advice?

The Irish government just launched the new ‘Healthy Eating Guidelines’ in a campaign. You would think that it is a joke, or an invitation to some kind of 80’s masquerade party, but sadly it is not.

But hey Ireland, the 80’s called. They really want their failed fat-phobic, carb-heavy advice back.

Department of Health: Press Release: Minister Corcoran Kennedy Launches Healthy Food for Life – New Healthy Eating Guidelines and Food Pyramid

Fortunately some people are not impressed, here’s an article from Ireland’s biggest paper:

Irish Times: Beware of nutribabble in revised food pyramid


“The Government’s Carb-Heavy Healthy Eating Guide Could Be CAUSING Obesity”

Massive Headlines in the UK: Eat More Fat

New Analysis: Avoiding Butter No Better for Health


  1. Pierre
    The grain lobby is still strong and the cholesterol myth is still well alive.
  2. Apicius
    Yeah, the bottom of the pyramid is full of Ireland's ancestral foods...like oranges, orange juice and bananas. Wow, I learned something today - feed the Irish tons of non ancestral, fruit foods, 12 months of the year, as their bodies are certainly adapted for it. And the statement they make about limiting it to unsweetened fruits only - another brilliant move. What geniuses. Don't add sugar to orange juice and bananas...and watch the weight come off, and no risk of diabetes.
  3. Harry
    I wonder if I have ever seen a predominantly healthy food pyramid or dinner plate graphic, without completely outdated scientific facts or obvious lobby influence e.g. by the beverage or dairy industries. In terms of countries, I seem to remember Brazil had pretty reasonable recommendations considering certain parts of its population are struggling with both under- and overnutrition. For private organizations the Harvard School of Public Health healthy eating plate or Dr. Weill's anti-inflammatory food pyramid are certainly better than the official U.S. Department of Agriculture one, but still not totally "up to date" on research or free of interests. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-eating-plate/
  4. Michael
    I'm not convinced the Irish are "allowed" any real fats at all under this scheme.

    If you look at the "fats" area of the pyramid, you'll see prominently:

    (a) a bottle of vegetable oil (likely rapeseed in Northern Europe, undoubtedly something extracted under heat and pressure, and heavy in omega 6s.

    (b) a margarine spread labelled "light". (See Nina Teicholz's book for the lowdown on these horrors of the chemical food industry.

    (c) a bottle of bought mayonnaise. This will consist in more of the industrial seed oil, water and emulsifiers, although there may be a little (pasteurised) egg in it.

    That's about it. I recall that the reviewed Australian guidelines, which seem not dissimilar to this were the first guidelines issued anywhere in the world to actually advise against eating butter at all. That may a very small pat of butter in the background in the Irish picture, but if it is that's all they're getting. They may be trying to cater to grain producers and fruit importers, but this looks like an attempt to give the Irish Milk Marketing Board (which trades as Kerrygold) a swift knee in the goolies. Why? These oils are NOT healthier. The revisitation of the "hidden" Australian data on heart health by U.S. NIH scientists shows that.

    Luck of the Irish ? ? If they're actually going to be eating this toxic trash it looks like it just ran out.

  5. @lowcarb_zealot
    How utterly depressing - one of our most successful food exports is Kerrygold butter, but apparently we shouldn't eat it ourselves...
  6. Michael
    Interview with Captain Joe Hibbeln a doctor and investigative scientist with the U.S. Navy and U.S. NIH (National Institutes of Health):

    "More 'Vegetable' Oil? MORE Heart Deaths":


    It was the 1960s Sydney Diet Heart Study whose results were "lost" and which suggests such a bleak outcome for those replacing natural fats with high omega-6 industrial seed oils.

    Why do the powers that be in Ireland not know about this? They ought to: it's their job to.

    I tend to think that the USDA probably is far too influenced by industry lobbies, but I'm not sure that would be the case in Ireland. I wonder if it's just that they take what industry-influenced bodies Stateside, like the USDA, say too seriously instead of really looking into the science themselves.

  7. Emma D
    The hallmark of the anti science brigade is all over this. As an LCHF coach in Dublin this makes my role so much more difficult!
    I am hoping that as we tend to follow the UK that PHCUK will influence our Department of Health soon!
  8. Apicius
    Here's a list of Irish foods that are registered or applied for protected status with European status.

    Oreal sea salt and sea minerals
    Imokilly regato (grass fed cheese)
    Wexford black currants (berries)
    Sneem black pudding (blood sausage)
    Conamarra lamb
    Waterford Blaa (bread...eaten with lots of butter)
    Timoleague brown pudding (more blood sausage)
    Clare island salmon


    Wow...looks like their traditional foods are not exactly food pyramid compliant. What's up with that? Maybe they should apply for protected origin foods for bananas, orange juice and margarine. Should make the dieticians happy.

    Reply: #9
  9. RT
    And there's the irony, no? I am reminded of the heuristic and commonsense view of nutrition stated by the philosopher Nassim Nicholas Taleb. He won't consume any type of food or drink that hasn't been in existence for at least 1000 years. Granted, that would include certain grains, but is still a far cry from this 1980s-type horror pyramid that the Irish government has foolishly adopted.
    I think the most interesting thing about Taleb's view is this: When it comes to introducing something completely different (e.g. on a biochemical level) into the human body, the burden of proof is reversed. That is, the onus is on the new item's advocates to prove beyond any doubt that it's definitely not dangerous. Otherwise we get, for example, the issues that have arisen regarding trans fats, which CSPI enthusiastically advocated in the 1980s as a replacement for time-proven traditional animal fats.
  10. Ciara
    I'm Irish and I find this so embarrassing and disheartening. As someone who has personally experienced the enormous benefits of an LCHF lifestyle, this really bothers me. When will real science be used to formulate dietary guidelines? I sometimes feel like I'm banging my head against a block wall when I try to explain LCHF to friends/family. . .this food pyramid is certainly not going to help ?
    Reply: #11
  11. Apicius
    Be comforted that "across the pond" their are people standing in solidarity with you, Sista! Be strong! :-)
  12. dxt
    Sorry Ireland, but more Kerrygold for me!
    Reply: #13
  13. Apicius
    If it were up to me, the base of the pyramid would be completely made out of kerrygold butter! :-)
  14. Apicius
    5000 year old "bog butter" found in Ireland:
    "Over 100 pounds of "bog butter" were discovered in Tullamore, County Offaly in 2013. This ancient food substance, thought to been buried as a form of refrigeration, is thought to be 5,000 years old, dating from the Iron Age.

    Brian Clancy and his uncle Joe were cutting turf in Ballard Bog when they made the discovery.

    Joe explained: "We were cutting turf and I found what looked like a huge piece of timber…We took it out with a spade and it turned out to be bog butter."

    Speaking to the Irish Times, he said, "It looked like a keg or an urn with two handles and a lid carved from a solid piece of wood."

    The container has carving marks around the edges with a removable lid with handles and holes, possibly for carrying. The wooden vessel measures a foot in diameter and is almost two feet tall. The 100 pound container was buried seven-feet down.

    Theories about exactly what "bog butter" is vary. Some believe it was a special type of butter made at a certain time during the years and buried so that it might be preserved. Joe said the butter still has a dairy smell. In the past some "bog butter" that has been tested has been meat based."


  15. Apicius
    2000 year old "bog butter" found in Ireland - check out this news clip it has nice pictures of it:

    "After making the discovery in Emlagh bog, County Meath, he says he contacted a local museum who then analysed the dairy discovery.
    Cavan County Museum told Jack that the 10kg (22lb) lump of butter was in fact more than 2,000 years old.
    Savina Donohoe, curator of Cavan County Museum, has told Newsbeat that it smells like a "strong cheese"."


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