The Alliance For Natural Health

Federal Dietary Guidelines Being Criticized Even by Government Cronies

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Group of wholesome diet of organic foodYale scientists don’t get it right either!

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), run jointly by the USDA and Health and Human Services, has been working on releasing its 2015 report about what our diet should look like. This is revised and updated every five years.

We covered this recently because the committee finally came around to seeing the error in its previous warnings about dietary cholesterol. The committee now admits that “cholesterol is [no longer]considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

The committee’s recommendations, though, seem to have a lot of people upset. The preliminary DGAC report called for a “plant-based” diet, which has the meat industry and some legislators on Capitol Hill up in arms.

Other aspects of the report that have drawn attention are measures to promote a “culture of health”—including a soda tax, a dessert tax, and electronic tracking of the use of “screen-based” technologies to deter sedentary lifestyles that lead to obesity.

To address these and other concerns about the report, the open comment period has been extended to May 8. And it is clear that any food group (like the meat, soda, or dessert industry) that feels it has been maligned by the DGAC’s guidelines will simply use its considerable influence to get more favorable treatment. It’s next to impossible to avoid crony-capitalist influence over such guidelines—which is one reason the government should not be in the business of telling people what or how to eat.

Cronyism isn’t the only problem, though. DGAC is always woefully out of date on nutrition, and not just about cholesterol. One glaring example is vitamin D. DGAC bases its estimates on the amount of essential vitamins we need on the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) recommended levels, which we’ve shown before to be grossly inadequate. As a point of reference, the IOM now recommends 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D for people between the ages of 1 and 70. Note that the recommendation is identical for people of all ages and weight, which is absurd. The previous recommendation was a mere 200 IU—whereas Harvard and the Vitamin D Council recommend anywhere from 1,000 to 5,000 IU a day. Also of concern is the report’s caution against dietary supplements as a means to achieve their recommended levels, despite supplements’ well-established safety record.

The report also advises Americans to reduce their consumption of saturated fat, presumably because of an alleged link to heart disease. Yet more up-to-date evidence shows that saturated fat does not cause heart disease and actually has a number of health benefits.

Finally, as mentioned above, the report recommends a diet low in red meat. But, as we’ve shown in the past, not all red meat is created equal: meat from corn-fed, CAFO-raised cows is quite different in nutrient composition than meat from grass-fed, organically raised cows, which is high in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Rather than telling us what to eat, government at all levels should instead stop gagging free speech about nutrition, an issue we’ve covered extensively in the Pulse of Natural Health. It is absurd, on the one hand, to be subjected to government health guidelines that are obsolete and likely tainted with crony influence, and on the other hand to be prevented from sharing nutrition advice with friends without a special license or consulting the nutritionist of our choice.

Nutrition is a science, which means that data and appropriate conclusions are constantly changing. Even some distinguished scientists can get it very wrong.

Consider an effort by Yale scientists to create a chart that would rank all foods in general from best to worst. This is very difficult, because all foods have advantages and disadvantages. It only makes things worse if you still labor under the old idea that saturated fat is bad.

Let’s look at one example: these Yale scientists say that nonfat milk is “very good” with a high rating of 100, while 2% milk has only a rating of 84, and whole milk has a rating of 52. But cream-topped whole milk at least is more natural and possibly safer, if you can find it non-homogenized (homogenization changes the fat molecules). A recent study also found that consuming high-fat dairy products is linked to a reduction in the risk of developing type-2 diabetes. Other strange outcomes on the Yale list: brown eggs (also linked to reduced risk of type-2 diabetes) are ranked very low with a score of 33, while Pepperidge Farms Whole Grain Bread is ranked higher with a score of 51.

Our grade for this whole list is an F. It misleads more than it helps.

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  • Vince

    “Nutrition is a science, which means that data and appropriate conclusions are constantly changing.”
    Nothing could be further from the truth . No science supports the idea that eggs are harmful and none ever did.Diet in general is not a subject medical experts are well equipped to address. Little scientific evidence shows that saturated fat is harmful. The only harmful fat is trans fat chock full in many margarine’s, A good example of how little docs understand diet is the fact many cardiologist have for years demonized butter and recommended margarine. More of a religion than a science .

  • Suzanne

    Put a holistic nutritionist or a Naturopathic Doctor on staff and you will have the food pyramid done correctly. Since I was a little girl starting school in 1964, the food pyramid has been pushing grains over saturated fat. It also doesn’t recognize the huge difference between CAFO meat and organic, grass fed meat; raw, unhomogenized milk and milk from a dairy that pasteurizes the milk (which kills all of the good bacteria in it and most of the nutrition). It’s about time the USDA puts someone on the food pyramid who will design it right — even if Big Food huffs and puffs against it.

  • Judy Ratliff

    Stay out of our lives. We are not all sheep that follow what the Elitist say. Most of us are smart enough to research on our own. The only obese people I usually see have EBT cards with 2-3 carts dragging behind them every month.

  • Keep the government our of our lives. We know our bodies better than anyone else and we are able to decide what to eat and what not to eat.

  • Gayle Janzen

    Hello – I was appalled to see this anti-supplement, pro Schneiderman article on Care 2 yesterday. I think this needs to be disputed.

    http://www.care2.com/causes/the-politics-of-herbal-supplements-leave-consumers-at-risk.html

  • Jerry Cumbie

    It seems to me that the Nutritionists can not even agree on anything among themselves.
    So, how do they expect us to abide by their reccomendations..

  • Deborah

    Twenty+ years ago they turned the food pyramid upside down, emphasizing carbohydrates instead of proteins, bashed eggs, dairy, salt, etc. Forget that the word salary (pay) comes from salis, Latin for salt and what the Romans paid their soldiers in because it was so necessary to life. Forget that the human brain is 75% myelin and mylein is 100% cholesterol, that all the nerves in the body are composed of myelin.
    So ALL this expert advice of the past 30+ years has produced physician/government induced epidemics of diabetes (all those carbs), obesity (all those carbs), and Alzheimers disease from statin drugs inhibiting the liver’s cholesterol producing ability and no eggs for no brains. The elderly are dying of septicemia because meds turn off their stomach acid and they become cadavers on autopsy tables with brains like Swiss cheese.
    God help us — the pharmaceutical companies and physicians are doing their best to put us on daily lifetime meds to squeeze every last dollar out of the federal government for themselves.

  • I believe that a plant based diet has been proven, by a vast amount of evidence, to be the healthiest for us and for our planet! I believe, based on a vast amount of evidence, that satiated fat and cholesterol should be kept to a minimum in our diet. I believe in the message that doctors like Dr. Greger, Ornish, Eiselstein, Campbell, Fhurman, etc… that are all reversing diabetes and coronary artery disease by plant diets. Keiser Permanente, the largest health care provider in the USA is telling not only all their patients to go plant based, but also all of their employees to go plant need! I think this “latest evidence” you speak of that says it’s OK to eat cholesterol and sa

    • …I think this latest evidence that you speak of that says it’s ok to eat cholesterol and saturated fat is based on flawed science. Everyone should subscribe to http://www.nutritionfacts.org and get the facts about nutrition from this reliable source!

      • vince

        For a quick look at the bad science involved in the demonetization of meat I suggest ‘The China Study: Fact or Fallacy? | Raw Food SOS” just Google it. For a review of the politics and lack of science that lead to the modern food pyramid watch the documentary “Fathead” . Expert opinion is not science science looks like this. “Meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies evaluating the association of saturated fat with cardiovascular disease.” which concluded ‘A meta-analysis of prospective epidemiologic studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD.” Perhaps we could discuss salt next.

    • Lucky Locavore

      There is NO one-size-fits-all diet…..never has been and never will be…..we are all biologically unique…..some folks may do well on a vegan-style diet; others won’t….the authors touted in the post are both informative and sometimes off base as well…..particularly Campbell and the much flawed China Study….health researcher Denise Minger does a fantastic debunking of the China Study…..while factory farming is bad for the environment, grazing ruminants on natural pasture actually sequesters carbon and improves the environment….I would die on a vegan diet….

  • Eileen Ordway

    Stop the efforts to design a food pyramid based on a generic formula. The goal of any dietitian is to determine how an individual’s body processes what he or she is eating in relationship to their genetics, surrounding environment, and his or her overall bodies health. A generic formula isn’t going to assist anyone in determining the impact of what his or her diet is on individual health until we make the profession of dietitian a valuable aspect of overall medical treatment. Each industry involved in the food supply chain from field to the grocery store must keep in mind the frequently changing food pyramid is confusing and contributes to instability in sustainable agriculture and sustainable animal products for human consumption. Our agriculture practices driven by Corporate interests of greed and our animal derived practices driven by Corporate interests greed is the real problem in developing diet guidelines for health.

  • Dogtowner

    I really hate seeing people denigrate those who use food stamps. My mother, whose income was $500 per month, refused to use food stamps due to this trashy stupidity. Maybe people should pay more attention to those who are stealing billions from them and less to what is in someone else’s supermarket cart.

    By the way, I am obese due to dieting, medical negligence, and stress. I eat extremely healthily and it doesn’t cause me to lose one pound. It is time writers on this website and commenters read some good information about the so-called obesity epidemic (even wild animals now weigh more than they did in the past), and stop looking for people to bash. Good old self-righteous America!

    • Donna Marquart

      I do not claim to be an expert on anything, but I’ve become interested in the issue of food and health and I watched a video recently – Fed Up – which is narrated by Katie Couric The documentary touches on a whole lot of issues with food and eating and the obesity epidemic in America. I found it to be revealing in that it points to a whole number of issues with what American food has become and how often the person who is overweight is blamed for a system that seems to promote bad health all around. best regards

  • My biggest fear is that we will continue to have FDA and ADA (American Dietetic and Nutrition Academy) in charge. Holistic Nutritionists can not get a job at any hospital, clinic, school. These are reserved for licensed by ADA dietitians. Their professional organization is financially supported by big food/agriculture companies. Read about their recent convention on motherjones here:

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/05/my-trip-mcdonalds-sponsored-nutritionist-convention

    What is the government doing telling us what to eat anyway? Gov. food recommendations are a politically motivated in order to select industries to support and subsidize=control.

  • James

    “and electronic tracking of the use of “screen-based” technologies to deter sedentary lifestyles that lead to obesity.”

    When I said Obesity will be a crime in the future, I wasn’t joking.