More misguidance from government dietary “guidelines”

I was appalled last week to read the news that government dietary “experts,” (who are these people anyway?) are at it again.  In the annual revision of its dietary recommendations, the USDA has solicited advice from a panel of nutritional experts.  This panel advises that in the face of alarming increases in the nation’s obesity levels, we should further reduce fat intake, especially saturated fat, and increase consumption of whole grains. There are so many dangerous fallacies to this approach that I have quoted below the entire text of the Weston A Price Foundation’s response.  Nobody says it better, so here it is:

“USDA has issued draft Dietary Guidelines for 2010. Rather than correct its anti-saturated fat and anti-cholesterol position, which has led to an epidemic of disease in this country, the new Guidelines are worse than ever, with more stringent restriction of saturated fat (7 percent of total calories, down from 10 percent) and cholesterol consumption of less than 300 mg per day (less than 200 mg for those with risk factors for heart disease or diabetes–one egg contains about 245 mg cholesterol), and reduction of salt intake from 2.3 grams to 1.5 grams (about one-fourth teaspoon).

The guidelines sweep the dangers of trans fat under the rug by lumping them with saturated fats, using the term “solid fats” for both, promote an increase in difficult-to-digest whole grains, and recommend lean meats and lowfat dairy products.  Cheese is specifically singled out for avoidance because of its high “solid fat” content. Since, as the Committee admits, no one follows earlier versions of the Guidelines, it is recommending a focus on “actions needed to successfully implement” key recommendations, in other words on how to force people to eat in this highly deficient and grossly unsatisfying way.

ACTIONS TO TAKE
1. Please take time during this week to post a comment at the USDA website. Go to www.dietaryguidelines.gov and scroll down to “SUBMIT Written Comments.”  It is particularly important to describe any adverse health effects you or family members have suffered by following earlier versions of the Guidelines. You may also want to use any of the talking points listed below.

2. Please also EMAIL your comments to your Senators and Representative in Congress.  Let them know that USDA’s formulation of dietary guidelines is a complete waste of taxpayer money and has resulted in a health crisis of epidemic proportions, especially in our children. It would be good also to PHONE your elected officials as well. For congressional contact information, go to www.house.gov and www.senate.gov.

3. If you live near Washington, DC, consider attending the public hearings at USDA on July 8.  You can sign up to give an oral presentation (as I will do) or simply attend to show support.  To sign up for attending the meeting, go to www.dietaryguidelines.gov and scroll down to “Meeting Registration/Oral Testimony.”

4. Please send out the Press Release below to your local newspaper and radio shows.  You may add your own contact information to that of our publicist Kimberly Hartke.  In addition, you may add a paragraph to the press release about how the USDA dietary guidelines adversely affected your own health and that of your family.

5.Please broadcast this action alert to other groups. Let’s create a tidal wave of outrage!

TALKING POINTS

1. The proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines perpetuate the mistakes of previous guidelines in demonizing saturated fats and animal foods rich in saturated fatty acids such as egg yolks, butter, whole milk, cheese, fatty meats like bacon and animal fats for cooking. The current obesity epidemic emerged as vegetable oils and refined carbohydrates replaced these healthy, nutrient-dense traditional fats. Animal fats supply many essential nutrients that are difficult to obtain from other sources.

2. When a healthy food like cheese is singled out as a food to be avoided, there must be something wrong with the premises on which the guidelines are based.

3. Basic biochemistry shows that the human body has a very high requirement for saturated fats in all cell membranes; if we do not eat saturated fats, the body will simply make them from carbohydrates.  But excess carbohydrate increases blood levels of triglyceride and small, dense LDL, and compromises blood vessel function.  Moreover, high-carbohydrate diets do not satisfy the appetite as well as diets rich in traditional fats, leading to higher caloric intakes and often to binging and splurging on empty foods, resulting in rapid weight gain and chronic disease.

4. The proposed guidelines will perpetuate existing nutrient deficiencies present in all American population groups, including deficiencies in vitamins A and D found in animal fats, vitamins B12 and B6 found in animal foods, as well as minerals like calcium and phosphorus, which require vitamins A and D for assimilation. Moreover, low intakes of vitamin K2, are associated with increased risk of heart disease and cancer. The main sources of vitamin K2 available to Americans are egg yolks and full-fat cheese.

5. By restricting healthy animal fats in school lunches and diets for pregnant women and growing children, the Guidelines will perpetuate the tragic epidemic of learning and behavior disorders.  The nutrients found most abundantly in animal fats and organ meats-including choline, cholesterol and arachidonic acid-are critical for the development of the brain and the function of receptors that modulate thinking and behavior.  Studies show that choline helps the brain make critical connections and protects against neurotoxins; animal studies suggest that if choline is abundant during developmental years, the individual is protected for life from developmental decline.

6. The National Academy of Sciences recommends 375 mg of choline per day for children nine through thirteen years of age, 450 mg for pregnant women and 550 mg for lactating women and men aged fourteen and older. These amounts are provided by four or five egg yolks per day-but that would entail consuming 800-1000 mg cholesterol, a crime by USDA standards. The committee referred to this as the “choline problem.” Pregnant women and growing children especially need to eat as many egg yolks as possible-yet the Guidelines demonize this nutrient-dense food.

7. The Guidelines lump trans fats together with saturated fats-calling them Solid Fats-thereby hiding the difference between unhealthy industrial trans fats and healthy traditional saturated fats.  Trans fats contribute to inflammation, depress the immune system, interfere with hormone production, and set up pathological conditions leading to cancer and heart disease, whereas saturated fats fight inflammation, support the immune system, support hormone production and protect against cancer and heart disease.

8. The vitamins and fatty acids carried uniquely in saturated animal fats are critical to reproduction.  The 2010 Guidelines will increase infertility in this country, already at tragically high rates.

9. The Guidelines are not based on science but are designed to promote the products of commodity agriculture and-through the back door-encourage the consumption of processed foods.

10. The Guidelines promote the consumption of whole grains, which can contribute to digestive disorders unless properly prepared.

11. The Guidelines completely avoid mentioning blood sugar problems caused by a diet high in carbohydrates and low in fat; the diet is particularly dangerous for those suffering from diabetes or hypoglycemia, since fats help regulate blood sugar levels. Many people have difficulty concentrating or can even suffer from seizures on a diet too low in fat.

12. The Guidelines urge salt restriction, which will lead to an increased use of artificial flavors like MSG in processed foods.

13. The Guidelines should be scrapped and the committee members should be replaced with individuals who have no ties to the food processing industry or to universities that accept funding from the food processing industry.”

Thank you to the Weston A Price Foundation!

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