Why Humans Need A Food Pyramid

Do Humans Really Need A Food Pyramid?

Humans are introduced to the food pyramid at a very early age. It tells us the approximate percentage of fruits, vegetables, dairy, grains, and meat we should eat. Now, the food pyramid has been replaced by the food plate.

food pyramid

Are we so far gone as biological entities that we need professional intervention to remind us to eat a balanced diet?

A general survey of the food-related illnesses that decrease biological fitness in the western world tells us, yes. This kind of intervention in the form of a food pyramid does seem to be necessary. Somewhere in our evolutionary journey, the average member of the species Homo sapiens lost the desire or ability to select a well-balanced diet.

the new food plate

How does our species compare to others in the animal kingdom when it comes to eating a balanced diet? The answer might embarrass you.

Cockroaches Can Correct Nutritional Deficiencies – Without A Food Pyramid or Plate Diagram

German cockroaches (Blatella germanica) are extreme generalists. Their diet consists of a wide variety of foods that vary in their nutrient composition. This is similar to human omnivores. It is advantageous for two reasons:

  1. Generalists have a greater resource base
  2. Food mixing achieves an appropriate balance of nutrients

German cockroach food pyramid

Research Study Involving German Cockroaches and Food Selection

Researchers exposed juveniles for forty-eight hours to one of three diet types: a diet deficient in protein, a diet deficient in carbohydrates, or a diet not deficient at all. The researchers then gave the cockroaches a choice of foods from all diets. This was to determine if the deficiencies could be corrected.

After forty-eight hours in the food choice arena, the cockroaches had corrected all nutritional imbalances. They had actively replaced what was missing from the experimental diet, and then continued on with a balanced diet.

Humans are constantly dealing with health issues related to nutritional imbalances and poor diets. Cockroaches are just one of the creatures who are knocking it out of the park when it comes to nutrition – and they don’t even have a handy diagram – pyramid or plate – to show them how it’s done.


This post is an excerpt from my book “The Nature of Human Nature.”

1 Comment

  1. Very interesting, but I doubt the problem is only caused by bad nutrition instincts. Modern human food is designed to be desirable above all, even to be addictive, thereby short-circuiting whatever nutrition instincts we might have left.

    I wonder if it would be possible to engineer an unhealthy food that will be so tasty for cockroaches that they would stop compensating deficiencies.

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