(see USDA Secret Panel for full story)
Adele Hite is the Policy Chair and founder of the Healthy Nation Coalition. The coalition works to expose the flaws and misuse of science in the formation of our nation’s dietary guidelines. Promulgated by USDA, these guidelines are not based in current science and have resulted in a 30 year decline in our population’s health. Individuals should be empowered to become informed about what works best for their individual nutritional needs.
It seems nobody likes the government to tell us what to eat.
In the face of a federal push to restrict salt in food production, the industry’s trade association has launched a pro-salt campaign that it describes as its most aggressive challenge ever to federal research.
Food industry groups have fought for decades to shape federal nutritional guidelines. In the past several months, salt advocates have taken aim at the government’s methodology, joining a chorus of doctors and dietitians who have long questioned the scientific basis of many federal dietary recommendations.
Concerns that were raised with the first dietary recommendations 30 y ago have yet to be adequately addressed. The initial Dietary Goals for Americans (1977) proposed increases in carbohydrate intake and decreases in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt consumption that are carried further in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report. Important aspects of these recommendations remain unproven, yet a dietary shift in this direction has already taken place even as overweight/obesity and diabetes have increased. Although appealing to an evidence-based methodology, the DGAC Report demonstrates several critical weaknesses, including use of an incomplete body of relevant science; inaccurately representing, interpreting, or summarizing the literature; and drawing conclusions and/or making recommendations that do not reflect the limitations or controversies in the science. An objective assessment of evidence in the DGAC Report does not suggest a conclusive proscription against low-carbohydrate diets. The DGAC Report does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that increases in whole grain and fiber and decreases in dietary saturated fat, salt, and animal protein will lead to positive health outcomes. Lack of supporting evidence limits the value of the proposed recommendations as guidance for consumers or as the basis for public health policy. It is time to reexamine how US dietary guidelines are created and ask whether the current process is still appropriate for our needs.
The USDA states that, “[b]ecause of their focus on health promotion and disease risk reduction, the Dietary Guidelines form the basis for nutrition policy in Federal food, education, and information programs.” Yet, since the USDA introduced the nation‟s first Dietary Guidelines, Americans have not become healthier. Since 1980, obesity in America has increased dramatically [Figure 1]; in addition, 46% of Americans have developed diabetes or prediabetes.
As we restrict carbohydrate consumption, we have to increase the intake of fat and protein, at least some of them from animal sources. With careful studies, we have found that what we feed animals is an important factor of the quality of animal-based foods in terms of protein and fat. In addition, during the last decade, more people are paying a premium for organic foods including animal-based foods. It should be an interesting question for all of us to explore if organic foods are worth the money. Dr. Ballerstedt received his doctorate degree in forage production and utilization; nutrition. He is a writer, speaker, researcher, and practitioner in his specialty. He created a website, “Grass Based Health”, in March 2010. Admittedly, as a physician, I do not have a vast knowledge of agriculture. I am very excited about having this unusual opportunity of interviewing Dr. Ballerstedt. I‘ll definitely ask him many interesting questions concerning agriculture and health. Please come and join me in listening to Dr. Ballerstedt’s discussion on this important topic.
It’s almost time for the Ancestral Health Symposium. I’m looking forward to seeing friends, meeting lots of folks, and listening to so many of the people I’ve been learning from these past few years. I’ll be presenting a poster on Saturday, August 6th. A marvelous way to celebrate my birthday!
The title of my poster is “Grass Based Health: The Big Picture.” My take-home point is that a human diet based on animal products – particularly those from ruminant animal – is far more “sustainable” than plant based diets.
Dr. Pete Ballerstedt is co-author of this informative document.
The United States of America (also referred to as the United States, the US, the USA, or America) is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district. The country is situated mostly in central North America, where its forty-eight contiguous states and Washington, D.C., the capital district, lie between the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, bordered by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. The state of Alaska is in the northwest of the continent, with Canada to the east and Russia to the west across the Bering Strait. The state of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific (see Figure 1.1). The country also possesses several territories in the Caribbean and Pacific (Wikipedia). The 48 contiguous states lie between about latitudes 24–49oN and longitudes 67–125oW. The population estimate for July 2011 was 313 232 044 with a growth rate of 0.963% (World Factbook). The largest city is New York – Newark with a population of 19.3 M; other major cities are Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and Washington DC. With an area of 3.79 million square miles (9.83 million km2) the USA has land boundaries with Canada of 8 893 km (including 2 477 km with Alaska), and with Mexico of 3 141 km. In terms of total area, the USA is third in the world in size behind Russia and Canada with China fourth.