Experts have hard time swallowing USDA dietary guidelines

When the USDA and HHS released The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020, they probably never imagined that it would make experts want to hurl. Or as the Striking Zombie would say, “Zombie eat brains, but Zombie can't swallow this injustice.” What seems to be the problem? Apparently, too many do’s and not enough don’t’s.  For example, “there's no direct messaging in the dietary guidelines that says don't eat junk food, don't eat processed food, don't eat meat, don't drink sodas,” Paulette Goddard Professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University Marion Nestle said. Wait a second, Nestle? I’m pretty sure there must be a conflict of interests there.

Here is, in a nutshell, what the new dietary guidelines are all about, per the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services:

The specific recommendations fit into 5 overarching guidelines:

·         Following a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time.

·         Focusing on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount.

·         Limiting calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake.

·         Shifting to healthier food and beverage choices.

·         Supporting healthy eating patterns for all.

Additionally, Americans should consume:

·         A variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables.

·         Fruits, especially whole fruits.

·         Grains, at least half of which are whole grains.

·         Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages.

·         A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds.

·         Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. Oils also are naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.

And finally, Americans should be encouraged to consume:

·         Less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars. This does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those consumed as part of milk and fruits

·         Less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats. Foods that are high in saturated fat include butter, whole milk, meats that are not labeled as lean, and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil

·         Less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium for people over the age of 14 years and less for those younger.

“Protecting the health of the American public includes empowering them with the tools they need to make healthy choices in their daily lives” Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell said. “By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes more manageable. The Dietary Guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.” Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack added that “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is one of many important tools that help to support a healthier next generation of Americans. The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines provides individuals with the flexibility to make healthy food choices that are right for them and their families and take advantage of the diversity of products available, thanks to America’s farmers and ranchers.”

What irks the critics though is that, for example, instead of saying ‘don’t’ drink soda,’ the guidelines say that than 10% of calories should come from added sugars. Or instead of ‘eat less meat,’ it says less than 10% of your diet should come from saturated fats. “The meat industry does not want the American government saying 'eat less meat'. That's un-American!” professor Nestle said. Unfortunately, doctor Gerber was not available for comment. President of the non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine Dr. Neal Barnard, however, was. “These are multibillion dollar industries that put a huge amount of effort not just into advertising their products, but into changing federal policy,” he said. “The egg industry is paying universities where these people are, then putting them on the committee to decide whether eggs are safe or not. That's a conflict of interest.” I knew there was one somewhere.

And Nestle and Barnard are not alone. “This is a loss for the American public and a win for big beef and big soda,” said Fredrick John Stare Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition Chair, Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Walter Willet said. “The problem isn’t just that the public gets misleading, censored information, but that these Guidelines get translated into national food programs, such as the menus for our kids in schools, diets for pregnant women, and programs for low-income Americans. This then gets directly translated into unnecessary premature deaths, diabetes, and suffering…of course this goes on to mean greater health care costs for all. It is all connected.” Or; “the science on the link between cancer and diet is extensive,” chief cancer control officer of the American Cancer Society said in a statement. “By omitting specific diet recommendations, such as eating less red and processed meat, these guidelines miss a critical and significant opportunity to reduce suffering and death from cancer. For most Americans who do not use tobacco, the most important cancer risk factors that can be changed are body weight, diet and physical activity.”

It’s not all dissenting voices, though. “I want to start out by saying what a fan I am of the 2015 DGAC report—I think the DGAC did a fabulous job,” founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center and founder of the True Health Initiative Dr. David Katz said. “My criticisms here pertain to the ways their work has been adulterated by politics as usual. Since the DGAC report is in the public domain, and since that represents the work of public health scientists before political abuse, I invite every citizen who wants to eat in accord with expert guidance to refer to the DGAC report, and ignore the Dietary Guidelines!” Also, “with With obesity and its associated health consequences—namely type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease—on the rise throughout our country, the AMA also is extremely pleased that the new recommendations call for significantly reducing the amount of added sugars and sugar sweetened beverages from the American diet,” President, American Medical Association Dr. Steven J. Stack said. “The AMA has been working hard over the last two years to prevent the incidence of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, both of which are linked to excessive sugar consumption, and we will continue to support efforts aimed at improving the health of the nation.”

Personally, I think the fact alone of telling people what to eat is just plain wrong. For instance, and speaking of Nestle, a friend of mine once told he had Smarties cereal for breakfast. “Huh,” I says to him, I says. “I didn’t even know Smarties made a cereal.” “They don’t,” he said. “It was just Smarties in a bowl with milk.” To each his own, I say. Telling people not to eat junk food is like telling them not to smoke. We all know it’s unhealthy, so it comes down to a choice between a long, healthy, and boring life and a short but sweet ride. Of course, if you are into the healthy stuff, why not try this supplements and nutrition products available at Discount Medical Supplies. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the 8th edition released since 1980 and remains the current edition until the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is released. That means that in the year 2525, if man is still alive, we will have the 109th edition. Looking forward to it.

Related: Set Up A Nutritious Diet Plan For Your Child