Sunday, June 20, 2010

Healthy "Guidelines"???

The Dietary Guidelines by definition, are a set of recommendations made by the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. The guidelines outline the USDA's dietary advice to promote health and reduce risk of chronic disease.  The guidelines are revised every 5 years - and this year, their number is up.  The USDA released the preliminary version of the new guidelines last Tuesday. And guess what?  Not much has changed...  In fact, 'not much has changed' has been the story for the last 30 years!  There's a quote that goes, "If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll keep getting what you've always got."  This rings true for the virtually unchanged guidelines and the condition of the nation's health.  Over the past 30 years the number of American's that are overweight and obese has skyrocketed.  Additionally, cases of diabetes, heart disease, diet related cancers, and overall healthcare costs have risen to match.  Nonetheless, once again, little is changing - and the small changes that have been proposed are likely not going to make a great deal of difference.

On a positive note the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has acknowledged the lack of progress and states that the 'new' recommendations are aimed at "an American public of whom the majority are overweight or obese and yet undernourished in several key nutrients."  The new guidelines supposedly 'recognize' that the recommendations outlined are not 'easy for people to follow' and call for improvements in nutrition literacy and cooking skills to promote the use of fresh foods prepared at home. 

Will the 'new recognition' and slight changes make a difference?  I'm not holding my breath...  For what it's worth here's a look at what's changed from the 2005 guidelines:

     -Saturated fat limits have been decreased from 10% of total calories to 7%.  Emphasis is put on replacing saturated fats with "more healthy" mono- and polyunsturated fats.  All I can say is - No Comment...
     -Trans fat recommendations have been lowered from 1% of total calories to 0.5%.
     -Sodium intake has been reduced from 2300 mg/day to 1500 mg/day.
     -Recommendations have been made to consume two, 4 ounce servings of seafood/week to obtain 250 mg/day of Omega-3 DHA and EPA.
     -The guidelines for protein and carbohydrate remain the same, but the 'expert' panel is calling for a shift to a more plant-based diet.  Additionally, they are recommending focus on nutrient dense rather than energy dense foods.

That's it, and by the looks of it we're still being told to "Go with Grains", fear fat, and limit meat consumption...  My prediction, we're going to "keep getting what we've always gotten".



  1. Is that a taco in the lower left corner of the pyramid???

  2. The way I look at the food pyramid. I look to see which food related industry has the most political clout. Obviously its the grain industry corn in specific. When I followed the American Diabetes association guidelines my a1c was over 7 when I followed the paleo guidelines it dropped to 5.2. Follow the money as always to find the truth.

  3. To me, the whole Pyramid is upside-down--it should be turned around with the emphasis on fruits and veggies on top, then a layer of proteins, etc. Carbs and dairy should be at the bottom in small spaces.

    As far as the dietary guidelines being the same for 30 years, it's been longer than that--try since WWII and rationing! What do you think STARTED the whole Pyramid philosophy, farm subsidy program, and what we know of today as Big Pharma? It all came from the repeated rationing that has been going on in this country ever since we've had wars (going all the way back to the Civil War as far as I can find).

    Rationing in the modern era can be seen in our Food Stamp programs, WIC, and welfare programs--all those "eligible" foods are eligible for a reason: they all stem from foods that get farm subsidies.

    Then there's foreign aid--what do we always end up giving? Bags of stuff we over-produce to the extreme: wheat, corn, milk (dry), and soybeans.

    These new health guidelines they keep coming out with? They're as old as the hills--I've been able to find the same info as far back as 1810 in cookbooks. The salt, the sugar, the fat, the fiber, all of it came out of the Victorian era. Early doctors and health enthusiasts (look up C.W. Post, Kellogg, and other old-name cereal manufacturers) were always tinkering with ways to make us healthier after performing autopsies.

    The quest for longevity has existed forever, but now our government wants to put an end to it by gaining control of our health care system, our food supply, what we know about health, and what we DO about health to shuttle more profit to a fortunate few: doctors, Big Pharma, politicians, and Big Farm. They're trying to capitalize on our ignorance, and for many of us, it's working.

  4. Dennis - Yep, it's a taco or at least the shell...

    And I agree, the food pyramid and dietary guidelines are both part of a larger, financially motivated agenda. It's very sad, we can only do our best to fix it one person at a time!

    Thanks for the great comments!

  5. "The guidelines for protein and carbohydrate remain the same, but the 'expert' panel is calling for a shift to a more plant-based diet. Additionally, they are recommending focus on nutrient dense rather than energy dense foods."

    This part I like!

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