Monday, June 28, 2010

New Nutrition Guidelines from the USDA, still amiss...

New Nutrition Guidelines, free for download here.

OK, so the USDA after 15 years or so, has finally decided to revamp their nutritional guidelines for the US citizens. I've not read every page, nor in great detail, but a cursory reading provides me with the impression that NOT MUCH has changed. Let me summarize: The scientists behind this have discovered that America is in an "Obesity Epidemic". They've also decided that reduction in the intake of dietary fats and cholesterol are a warranted recommendation, you know, because Americans are fat and being fat makes you have a heart attack. I am uncertain, how after 100 years of misinformation being perpetuated in a dogmatic, authoritarian manner cannot seem to be overthrown. I'm no conspiracy theorist, but I did note that one of the messages in the goals, or hopeful outcomes it to serve a larger nutritional community. Yeah, a nutritional food based community, not just the fat Americans at risk of, well death by one of several nutrition-related diseased. Rather on this list, included with the fat Americans, and every other American is small and large business owners that are parenthetically defined as farmers. I love my farmers, but feedlot, mass production farming is a big, a HUGE business and it sounds to me like they have a few people in their pockets or on their pay rolls. But, I don't know dick about that society so I will not speculate. Rather I will summarize the recommendations:

1. Reduce the incidence of obesity and prevalence of overweight Americans by encouraging a reduction in caloric intake and increase in exercise, or activity output. Uh, this has failed for the last 20 years. (Insert Buzzer for wrong answer here)

2. Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and far-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of meats, poultry, and eggs. (Insert Wrong Answer Buzzer Again)

Damn, they are 0 - 2. That's a bad start. We know from loads of scientific evidence - conducted cross-culturally as well as in hunter-gatherer tribes that the calorie in, calorie out model is broken, that is just doesn't work. It fails in the face of a nutritionally dense, satiation providing diet that pays little if any attention to caloric matters. Furthermore, I do like that they are emphasizing the intake of fruits and vegetables, however, here again nothing has changed. Remember the old - 5-a-day campaign? This is simply an extension of that idea. And, they are continuing to recommend grain and dairy product (scratching head about why in utter disbelief that simply supporting big business is more important than our country's health), both of which are known to increase insulin responses and create for lack of better ideas: FAT PEOPLE. Listen, whole grain cereal with skim-milk is going to make you have a huge insulin response and store fat. It's really not that complicated!

3. Significantly reduce intake of refined sugars. (Yeah, they got one right)

4. Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for America, for which you are referred to a website that is wholly useless.

It's unfortunate, that this has been released, and seems to be a direct attack on the growth of the healthy eating, Paleo, or ancestral eating movement. Just as "we" (collectively used to indicate folks who eat Paleo for health, performance, etc and perpetuate the idea) are making headway, gaining momentum, this "new" report (new? because it basically has not changed at all from the past guidelines: look at the pyramid: eat loads of grains and only a touch of meat and almost no fats) is released and I am sure, I'm quite certain in fact with our fast-food, health conscious, obesity-worried, Biggest Loser-watching captivated audience this "news" will be on every talk show, news station, and bill board from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It's quite sad, that in the face of loads of research this is put forth. As I said, I've not read every document in detail - I plan to when I get some free time - but, I did search the executive summary and a few other documents associated with this release/update for the term Omega. I was thinking, certainly with the amazing amount of data relating Omega fatty acid balance, or imbalance, to immflamation and other diseases it would be featured prominently int he report. I can't seem to find that (but, I do need to read everything). My feeling is that by emphasizing the Omega fatty acid story, they'd be forced to revise much of their document: that is eat more fats and meat products. Apparently, this is something that the Gov't is still struggling with... Still under the hand of Keys...

1 comment:

  1. I think it would be interesting to see a Paleo pyramid next to the US pyramid to see the difference.I have yet to search for this on the internet but it would be a cool comparison.