The journal Nutrition just published a paper titled In The Face Of Contradictory Evidence: Report Of The Dietary Guidelines For Americans Committee.  The authors are Adele Hite, MAT; Richard Feinman, PhD; Gabriel Guzman, PhD; Morton Satin, MSc; Pamela Schoenfeld, RD; and Richard Wood, PhD.

Let’s hope this gets some major media play.  Sure, a lot of bloggers ripped the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for spouting the same old nonsense, but we’re bloggers, not academic researchers, so we’re easy to ignore.

It’s not so easy to dismiss this group, especially when their paper is published in a respected journal.  Professional courtesy dictates they avoid the kind of language I would use to describe the Dietary Guidelines committee (morons, hacks, anti-fat hysterics, etc.), but if you read the paper, the message is clear:  Nice attempt at wading through the research, kids … now stop going wee-wee in the pool and go dry yourselves off, because it’s time for the adults to swim — after we give you a well-deserved spanking, of course.

This paragraph from the abstract pretty much sums it up:

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.

It’s followed soon after by this paragraph from the paper’s introduction:

The DGAC Report had the opportunity to review and evaluate the emerging science, to distinguish between established principles and ideas that are still areas of research or controversy, and to provide clear, consistent information for Americans. Instead, the 2010 DGAC Report continues to make one-size-fits-all recommendations that are based on evidence that is weak, fragmented, and even contradictory in nature.

Yup, the DGAC coulda been contenders.  They coulda had class.  Instead, they got together and went wee-wee in the pool.  In the Nutrition article, the adults call attention to the wee-wee.  For example, the DGAC Report complains that Americans aren’t following the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which of course call for consuming less fat and more carbohydrates.  The adults beg to differ:

Average daily calories from meat, eggs, and nuts have increased by about 20 cal since 1970 as average daily calories from flour and cereal products have increased by nearly 10 times that amount (p. D1-10). In short, the macronutrient content of the diet has shifted in the direction recommended since the 1977 dietary goals.

Total and saturated fat intakes have decreased as a percentage of calories for men, the absolute amount has decreased whereas carbohydrate intake has increased. Notable from the DGAC Report is the absence of any concern that this shift in macronutrient content may be a factor in the increase in overweight /obesity and chronic disease; the proposed recommendations suggest that this trend should not only continue but also become more pronounced.

Well, it’s a government committee, so they had to adopt the government’s stategy for dealing with obvious failures:  hold up the failure as proof that we need to do the same thing again, only bigger.

After pointing out the general wee-wee, the Nutrition article deals with many of the individual streams.  In fact, the topic headings in the paper read like a list of charges.  Here are few sample headings:

Macronutrients: Research questions are formulated in a way that prevents a thorough investigation of the literature

Macronutrients and weight loss: Science is inaccurately summarized

Low-carbohydrate diets: Science is inaccurately represented

Low-carbohydrate diets: Conclusions do not reflect quantity and/or quality of relevant science

Effects of saturated fat: Answers based on an incomplete body of relevant science

Effects of saturated fat: Science is inaccurately represented or summarized

Diabetes and fat: Science is inaccurately represented or summarized

Dietary fiber and whole grains: Conclusions do not reflect the quantity and/or quality of science

Salt: Recommendations do not reflect limitations and uncertainties of the science

You get the idea.  Within each topic, the authors point out the many flaws in the scientific “evidence” cited to support the 2010 Dietary Guidelines … the cherry-picking, the incorrect conclusions, and the contradictions.  If you’re interested in the details, you can read the full paper.

Towards the end of the paper, the authors present a little history:

It is of interest to consider the opinion of the American Medical Association (AMA) with respect to the first implementation of dietary guidelines. In an editorial, it was stated:

“We believe that it would be inappropriate at this time to adopt proposed national dietary goals as set forth in the Report on Dietary Goals for the United States. The evidence for assuming that benefits to be derived from the adoption of such universal dietary goals as set forth in the Report is not conclusive and there is potential for harmful effects from a radical long-term dietary change as would occur through adoption of the proposed national goals.”

In the three decades since, carbohydrate consumption has increased; overall fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol consumption have decreased to near or below targeted levels; caloric intake remains within recommended levels; and leisure-time physical activity has increased slightly (pp. D1-1, D3-10, B2-3). At the same time, scientific evidence in favor of these recommendations remains inconclusive, and we must consider the possibility that the “potential for harmful effects” has in fact been realized.

I don’t think we have to consider that possibility very deeply.  If the potential for harm hasn’t been realized, I’d sure hate to see what real harm looks like.

In addition to calling for a halt to the “population-wide dietary experiment” that began in 1977 with the McGovern committee’s report, the authors suggest convening a group of impartial scientists to re-examine all the evidence.  In the meantime, they say, it’s time for public officials and clinicians to stop blaming Americans for the obesity epidemic by claiming we’re not following the government’s advice.

Since I’m not writing for an academic journal, I’d put it a little differently:  It’s time for the government’s nutrition “experts” to stop making wee-wee on our heads and telling us it’s raining.

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42 Responses to “The Dietary Guidelines Committee Receives The Spanking It Deserves”
  1. Elenor says:

    Oh Tom, I just LOVE you! Well done!

    Thank you, but the kudos go to the authors of the paper. Nice to see actual scientists speaking up.

  2. Brilliant – nice to see there are some real scientists in the nutrition field after all! Will be interesting to see if this is picked up by media, or buried as fast as possible to save any ’embarrassment’.

    That will be interesting to see. Fingers crossed.

  3. KD says:

    I’m honestly really shocked.

  4. Namine says:

    I feel good about this. Wondering if this is how many rational thinkers felt when Descartes released his paper on rationalism, or when Newton wrote Principia. Compared to the researchers on nutrition the past 50 years, the writers of this article can and should be considered philosophers.

    I’d settle for the media viewing them as scientists and realizing the DGAC members aren’t.

  5. mezzo says:

    Thanks for spreading the news, Tom. I am spreading it further in my German nutrition forum – we all need a little hope and could certainly use a critical review of our own nutritional guidelines. Fortunately, while they lean heavily towards carbs they do not slash animal protein as strongly as yours and eggs have been officially absolved. The animal fats, however, are still portrayed as the big bad guy and the vegetable oils are still being pushed. Knowing how bad they can be for humans one feels like weeping.

    I’m afraid the U.S. may be the last to admit the anti-fat campaign was misguided, since it pretty much began here.

  6. Hans Keer says:

    Hope that Hite, Feinman, Guzman, Satin, Schoenfeld and Wood like these guidelines http://bit.ly/9OYe5F better.

    I think they’d approve.

  7. Tammy says:

    Someone needs to make sure Michelle Obama gets a complete copy of this latest report. Or better yet, to go really mainstream, the authors need to be featured on Oprah.

    I’m not sure if people in government are truly interested in hearing this information. It would undermine their belief that it’s up to them to save us with mo’ better federal programs.

  8. Be says:

    I was curious if you would get around to this study. I read it last weekend and was encouraged. Hey, at least we get glimmers of “Adult Swim”!

    I read a preview copy last week as well, but the accompanying press release said to hold it until October 1st. By then it was already Friday.

  9. Bruce says:

    “Bob and Bobbi in the Morning” will probably report it as…

    Studies show we need more vegetables. More on this after a commercial break and then, what Paris Hilton is up to today. You’ll want to stay tuned for that. Also will Oprah amaze you on her show today. See who her guests are!!!

  10. Paolo says:

    The world is changing. I sent this paper to the italian nutritionist I’m discussing (ahem.. ahem… ) with and he claimed this paper doesn’t mean anything, it just suggests a small change to guidelines as people are getting obese…

    I’d say he’s beyond convincing. Probably can’t bear the thought that he’s been giving out bad advice all these years.

  11. PrimeNumbers says:

    I get so fed up of reading news stories about diets, and the research paper is not either linked to, or only the abstract is available freely. I’m very happy in this case the full paper is available for reading and I look forward to doing so.

    I was happy to see it available online as well. Often I have to send out distress signals to some researchers to find full-text copies of articles.

  12. Paul451 says:

    That paper was like a breath of fresh air! I’ll be citing it to friends and other interested people from now on.

  13. Lori says:

    Apparently the kids on the government committee never read “The Emporer has no Clothes.”

  14. Brian says:

    Hey Tom,

    You’re not peeing on my head, are you?

    Let’s hope something comes of this.

    Brian

    No, no, no … that’s a genuine sprinkle from above.

  15. JCohn says:

    What, is it April 1st already?

    I sincerely hope that this is only the first shot across the bow of the DGAC.

    My only regret is that there is no penal code for bad science. If it were, the Dietary Guidelines would be evidence of a Class A Felony with Special Enhancements.

    Unfortunately, the punishment for bad science often comes in the form of a new research grant.

  16. Thom Brogan says:

    The problem with the criticism is two-fold:

    1. It’s fact based (always a kiss of death or nigh-mortality)
    2. The authors’ agenda won’t lead to large-scale mercantilist-style subsidizing of agricultural industries nor remove existing subsidies from Big Corn and Big Soy.

    It will be greeted with a patronizing thanks for its authors’ hard work and celebrated with a round of soy smoothies on the taxpayers’ dime.

    I’m not calling for a statist-based interest in low-carb diets, but doubt many in the government would care about such approaches unless there’s power and money in it for them.

    Then again, I’d like to be a shill for Big Pork for both the epithet and the pancetta and prosciutto kickbacks…

    I’m afraid you’ve got a point. Our government is not a disinterested party here; they’re big-time investors in grains.

  17. Crusader says:

    Every day that passes we get closer to low-carb not being dismissed as a fad-diet and will eventually become THE norm.

  18. shutchings says:

    Thank you for your excellent blog, but please find a different analogy. Swimming is the only exercise I can tolerate, and I already have to convince myself it’s all going to be okay every time I get in a public pool. 😛

    Um … how about “Stop going wee-wee in the sandbox” … ?

  19. Dan says:

    I won’t be swimming in that pool any more. That population-wide dietary experiment was not good for me. And I didn’t even volunteer for it. I just blindly let myself be assimilated with disasterous results. In general, it’s best to do the opposite of the government’s advice.

    Good to see that the real scientists are speaking up and have a forum to do so.

  20. Erik Danielsen says:

    Searching the web for more dialogue regarding this new paper (sadly I haven’t seen much mainstream discussion just yet) I came across this gem:

    http://www.wheatworld.org/wp-content/uploads/other-grain-group-comments-2010-dietary-guidelines-20100429.pdf

    Specific recommendations to the GDAC from various “grain groups.” Aside from the mostly junk science and plain old conjecture they use to support their recommendations, the list of references and groups at the bottom really illustrate just how much money there is behind the push for grains and a high-carbohydrate diet- and these are just the groups that the industry SUPPORTS. The industry itself is of course a whole extra money pot on top of that.

    It’s interesting how a common attitude in their rationale is that the guidelines should be based on an assumption that americans are inevitably going to make poor dietary choices or would find it difficult to do something other than eat grains for their nutrient intake because of… well, I don’t know. For some reason. Because we all know everyone wants to just eat french fries all day, that’s why.

    Also they recommend that refined grains be recommended in the diet because whole grains alone lack a variety of important nutrients (they make a big deal about folic acid, which sounds to me like a great pitch for the benefits of spinach), which seems to be a very subtle admission of the nutritional deficiency of cereal grains. Interesting how that works. Of course, the attitude is still that americans are too incompetent to choose foods that naturally contain folic acid, so they should eat more chemically-enriched refined grains. It’s just ridiculous.

    Wow, that is an interesting justification they put together there. It’s a bit like recommending chewing tobacco because by gosh, if we don’t, people will smoke cigarettes.

  21. Hilary Kyro says:

    One step forward, two steps back…today Dr. Oz cleared up the soy controversy; it’s a better part of a plant-based diet than chicken nuggets. You need about 27 mgs of pseudo-estrogens to be normal.

    So I’ll have boobs and a healthy heart. Great deal.

  22. Jan says:

    “So I’ll have boobs and a healthy heart. Great deal.”

    Now that makes sense – Dr. Oz IS a boob.

  23. Shmaltzy says:

    Tom, thought you might be interested in this: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/obesity-problem-is-bigger-than-we-think-despite-gdp-benefits-20101005-16630.html.

    Interesting concept: obesity is a win-win-win situation…”The more you eat the more you add to GDP and the profits of businesses. If the messages of advertising and marketing make you self-conscious about your overweight, everything you spend on fancy diets, gym subscriptions etc adds to GDP.

    And then when you damage your health, everything you, the government and your health fund spend on trying to keep you going adds to GDP. Even when you die prematurely that won’t count as a negative against GDP, although the absence of your continued consumption will be missed.”

    And this: “Although healthcare spending for obese people is at least 25 per cent higher than for someone of normal weight, and increases rapidly as people get fatter, severely obese people are likely to die eight to 10 years earlier, so their shorter lives mean they incur lower healthcare costs over their lifetime. It’s even greater than the saving on smokers.”

    There you have it. Obesity is great for the economy. Let’s keep shoving in those bagels…

    Now those federal dietary guidelines are starting to make sense.

  24. McAnon says:

    Don’t forget, according to Lierre Keith (The Vegetarian Myth) with your 27 mgs of pseudo-estrogen comes brain shrinkage from glial cells not receiving the signals to reproduce as often as the signals for programmed cell death, as well as cognition and memory problems. Then there’s the thyroid disorders from the lectin-induced iodine deficiency… as well as the way in which the phytoestrogens can cause infertility in both males and females… if I didn’t know better I’d swear “edible” soy products were just slow-acting poisons chemical manufacturers couldn’t find a use for until they started investing in marketing/PR firms…

    I suddenly have a strange urge to buy 100 stamps and mass-mail printouts of this study to nutritionists/health researchers…

    Selling soy as a health food was one of the best P.R. con-jobs ever pulled off.

  25. Chris says:

    Been a while since I commented here. Appreciate your digging and writing. I thought you might enjoy the sales job that the National Pasta Association does on their website:

    “Refined (or processed) grains have seen their share of negative news headlines lately. With so many talking heads vilifying “white carbs,” it’s easy to be confused. To set the facts straight, we turn to science, where the unique health benefits of pasta are supported by sound research.”

    (I’m waiting)

    “Nutrition experts routinely recommend a balance of both whole and enriched grains to ensure a nutritionally complete diet that provides the essential vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients (Phytonutrients are the health-protective substances in plat foods—fruits vegetables and grains—that promote health and help reduce risk of chronic disease.)”

    (Still waiting.)

    “Pasta is the perfect foundation for healthy, nutritious and satisfying meals: Pasta is generally eaten with nutrient dense food partners, such as fiber-filled vegetables and beans, heart healthy fish and monounsaturated oils, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce and protein packed cheese, poultry and lean meats.”

    (How can you write this and live with yourself?)

    When the best thing you can say about the product your shilling is that it is often eaten with nutrient dense food partners, you have lost your argument.

    Turns out the “nutrition experts” aren’t and never have been experts.

    Wow … you almost have to feel sorry for whoever was given that writing assignment.

  26. McAnon says:

    “Hey look, that rat we fed desert cobra venom is finally dead”

    “Oh, I see… so did its blood pressure rise or fall on this natural, sustainably grown local Nevada Desert supplement?”

    “…It has no blood pressure, it’s dead Jim – have you been attending Soy Council conferences again?”

    “Yes I have… so would you agree that natural Cobra venom reduces blood pressure and cures a racing heart, but when abused or taken above the recommended daily limit may cause hypoactive cardiac stimulation in some patients?”

  27. Hilary Kyro says:

    So many horse’s petunia’s to spank! Thanks, McAnon for the pithy summary of what makes soy so sucky. It’s a picnic to give-up the Soy-Good hot dogs that don’t hunt worth beans in buckwheat batter.
    I’ve paid more than $20 a pound and walked uphill for grass-fed beef in Rosedale. Economically speaking, mo’ better real food is a win win and a draw of foot traffic! Yes, the well-fed buy less soy @ 2 bits a bushel, but we employ dropouts, buy books, Blessing trumpets, better quality socks…it’s easier to sell fabulous stuff to people with energy, enthusiasm and good glial cells. It’s easiest to sell poison and poop-chute probes to our civil servants whose wages, pensions and prestige are pegged to their over-spending and inflation. We need the pretentious people parasites to resign or be canned.

  28. Rocky says:

    As this sort of evidence continues to build, I hope that we soon reach a tipping point, after which the public awareness tide will rapidly turn towards sanity-based nutrition.

    After that happens, it will be as described in the book, “Mistakes Were Made, But Not By Me.” Those responsible for these decades of madness will have no difficulty shifting the focus to avoid blame.

    I’m currently reading “Mistake Were Made.” It does explain rather a lot.

  29. jake3_14 says:

    My concern is that is the academic equivalent of spitting into the wind. “Nutrition” isn’t the leading journal for the subject, and the authors aren’t recognized nutrition experts outside the low-carb community. Some of the authors don’t even have PhDs, which in academia, will damage the paper’s credibility all by itself. I’m reminded of Gary Taubes recent interview with Jimmy Moore, where Gary sounded discouraged after nearly a decade of beating his head against a wall with his message and being pigeonholed as the “low-carb” journalist.

    The anti-fat hysterics will of course look for any excuse to dimiss the criticism. But every time someone points out the flaws in the federal guidelines, especially using scientific logic, it’s a little step closer. There may be a few journalists or even nutritionists out there who pay attention.

  30. Excellent post! Love it!

    M

  31. TonyNZ says:

    Jesus wept tears of…joy?

    From the sterile annals of academia, however, this is about as close to going postal as it gets. I’m impressed they got it through.

  32. Roberto says:

    Tom,

    Yes, yes… You’ve been beating this dead horse for a while now, Tom…

    The government told us to cut our precious fat, eat more whole grains, we listened, and our health suffered as a result…

    “In the three decades since, carbohydrate consumption has increased; overall fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol consumption have decreased to near or below targeted levels…”

    All we can gather from this is that the government was likely wrong about fat and cholesterol causing disease. We cannot conclude that the government food pyramid is inherently destructive to our health, because Americans have not adopted diets even remotely approximating it…Sure saturated fat and cholesterol consumption has decreased, but today we’re consuming most of calories from white flour, refined vegetable oils and sugar…That is a far cry from the governments advice to eat more whole grains, fruit, vegetables and lean meats….

    If the American people actually heeded the governments advice there would undoubtedly have been a massive decrease in heart disease, cancer, obesity, etc…

    You might want to read that government advice more carefully. They’ve started touting whole grains more in recent years, but when the food pyramid came out, it emphasized grains, not whole grains specifically. The latest report says sugar doesn’t cause obesity, and of course they think a tall glass or apple juice or orange juice is just wonderful — never mind the big serving of fructose. They still think vegetable oils are health food unless they’re hydrogentated, and they’re calling for reducing saturated fat even more. Worst of all, they’re still telling a population full of insulin-resistant people to get most of their calories from carbohydrates.

    Yes, of course, if you switched from the total-junk diet many people eat to a low-calorie diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats, your health would improve. But if you’re at all insulin resistant, you’d also be hungry all the time from eating too many carbohydrates and not enough fat, which means you wouldn’t stick to the diet. Blaming people for not sticking to a diet that makes them constantly hungry is pointless, especially when it’s not necessary to be lean or healthy.

    Telling people to cut back on meat and eggs and consume more grains is bad advice, whether the grains are whole grains, half-grains, multi-grains, or processed flour. That was the main thrust of the government’s advice.

    Considering the latest research indicates that cancer feeds on fructose and glucose, how do you figure following the government’s advice — less meat, less fat, more fruits, fruit juices and grains — would have led to a massive decrease in cancer?

  33. Sarah says:

    I ran across a critique of the critique that basically said it wasn’t legitimate because so many of the researchers had done previous low carb studies. There was no valid criticism or rebuttal, they just didn’t like the people involved.

    That’s what we’re up against.

    When you can’t debate the facts, you attack the person citing the facts. Every bad debater knows that one. And of course, the critique of the critique conveniently ignores the fact that the committee was made up of people who were already in the anti-fat camp.

  34. Walter says:

    Completely off topic, but since you enjoyed the humor above, the writer of this site does good character development and the first story – Girls gotta protect her reputation is about stand up comedy as is the story under spin offs/two faced tales/two faced tales – I thought you might like it

    http://catwoman-cattales.com/files/CT_splash.html

  35. Karen J says:

    “Unfortunately, the punishment for bad science often comes in the form of a new research grant.”

    Love that! Reminded me of the “punishment” that Ancel Keys got…

    Yup, cover of Time magazine.

  36. food rep says:

    Tom,

    I think you have a valid point that this new godly one-size-fits-all may not be too hot for all those 250+ lbs diabetics out there. Yet they claim that if it does not work, it’s always the patients’ fault. Enter the meds and torture them with aerobic muscle wasting. Not good.

    A recent study showed that moderately lowering carbs loses to a Mediterranean diet:

    http://www.slideshare.net/pronutritionist/mediterranean-vs-carbohydrate-restricted-vs-healthy-who-diet

    I wish there would exist more positive attitude to the possibility that low carb diet could be plant-based as well. Another recent study implicated that plant-based protein may be significantly healthier than animal based protein.

    I’ll try to make this brief and clear: cohort studies don’t prove diddly because they often simply show that health-conscious people are different: more likely to exercise, more likely to get enough sleep, more likely to take vitamins, less likely to drink or smoke, etc.

    So if meat and cheese are demonized for 30 years as health hazards, more health-conscious people will end up avoiding them and more “I don’t give a @#$%” people will end up eating them. Then you get an association (which is all we can get from cohort/observational studies) … hey, look, the people eating meat aren’t as healthy.

    As an example of how wrong those associations can be, a large cohort study showed that women who took estrogen had a lower rate of heart disease. Everyone was convinced estrogen therefore prevented heart disease. But in two clinical studies — the kind that matter — it became clear that estrogen actually made heart disease somewhat worse. How could that be?

    Association was mistaken for causation. Because taking estrogen was considered healthy, health-conscious women were taking it. It was not making them healthy.

  37. Roberto says:

    Easier to put my comments in with yours — Tom
    ———————————————————-

    I misread this post in a lot of ways, sorry if I seemed curt. I am only going to respond to the following:

    “Considering the latest research indicates that cancer feeds on fructose and glucose, how do you figure following the government’s advice — less meat, less fat, more fruits, fruit juices and grains — would have led to a massive decrease in cancer?”

    Perhaps when you look at cancer at the level of the cell, it does “feed” on glucose/fructose. I sincerely doubt we can take that to mean that glucose and fructose in our food causes cancer.
    ————————————————————
    There’s a difference between causing a condition and allowing it to continue. Your body produces little mutations all the time. (Described nicely in “DNA: The Language of Life.”) If you provide them with fuel, you are encouraging them to grow. There’s also recent evidence that high levels of insulin encourage tumor growth, which would make sense since insulin is a growth hormone.
    ————————————————————
    Our brains burn exorbitant amounts of glucose, and always will, no matter how much one restricts their carbohydrates. Our bodies usage of glucose is not a foreign, detrimental occurence. You could probably stop cancer in its tracks by denying a person oxygen, it they didn’t die first. Technically, a cancerous tumour feeds on amino acids as well, when it uses them to take shape like any other part of our body. Should we deny ourselves protein to prevent cancer? In either case, I haven’t read these “cancer feeds on glucose/fructose studies” so I can’t comment to heavily on that matter.
    ————————————————————-
    Your liver can produce all the glucose your brains needs, even if you don’t eat a single carbohydrate all day. Flooding your system with more glucose than it can use is bad news.
    ————————————————————-

    The elephant in your blog: we were consuming far more white flour before the diabesity epidemic exploded. That plague burgeoned in conjunction with a massive decrease in white flour consumption.
    ————————————————————–
    You’re going to have to tell me where you’re getting that figure. Take a look at this article:
    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m3765/is_n2_v14/ai_11190348/

    If you don’t want to read it, here’s a relevant quote:
    Flour consumption in the United States has grown almost steadily since 1970, with per capita intake rising by 24 pounds, or an average of over 1 pound each year. And American consumer spending on bakery products topped $50 billion in 1990.

    —————————————————————

    What has been been increasing alongside obesity and diabetes? Refined sugar, processed vegetable oils, trans fat and countless food additives the names of which I won’t even attempt to spell. In other words, strange industrially processed foods that our bodies had never encountered in any way shape or form. Not too mention decreases in activity, exposure to “obesogens” like BPA, increases in pollution, a more stressful lifestyle, standing in front of a microwave while we bathe our food in radiation, etc.

    ————————————————————-
    All true. So?
    ————————————————————-

    But that’s all academic. The more pertinent discussion rests in the carbs vs. fat debate and the latest demonization of the fructose molecule. Please…

    There have been numerous cultures found virtually cancer and diabetes free eating ample amounts of carbohydrates in virtually every shape (potatoes, rice, whole grains) and many with a healthy dollop of fructose from fruit. They are mentioned ad nauseum, and I hate to be the next guy to do it, but the Kitavans are a good example.

    ————————————————————-
    The diseases come along when sugar and refined carbohydrates enter the diet. The little bit of fructose from a piece of fruit is fine. The big glass of fructose from fruit juice isn’t. Your liver must and will turn that into liver fat. In the traditional societies where grains were part of the diet, the grains were soaked and fermented to neutralize the lectins. We don’t do that. Our grains are junk food.
    ————————————————————-

    You are right, in earlier times there were some massive flaws in government recommendations. Margarine was a pretty nasty oops. But if you look at todays food pyramid, it is basically recommends eating a diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Personally, I agree that it is unnecessary to cut out animal fat. But I don’t think it is unhealthy to cut it out, so I would say they are mostly hedging their bets there. And yes I think it is unwise to advocate vegetable oils, but they still recommend keeping fat as low as possible.

    I don’t think the government ever intended for people to eat the majority of their calories from white flour, refined sugar, refined vegetable oils and factory farmed dairy. The American people chose that themselves. Pointing the finger at the government is a moot tactic, because no one has ever really listened to them in any way. It’s a scapegoat.
    ————————————————————-
    Government’s intentions are always good, aren’t they? The results are what count. They scared people away from natural fats. They told us to consume vegetable oils. They told us to get most of our calories from carbohydrates, which drives up insulin and therefore drives up appetite for many, many people. When I was a grain-eating vegetarian, I pretty much did follow the government’s advice — I didn’t consume sugar either, by the way. My health went south and I gained weight. So yes, I blame them. They were wrong, and they are still giving bad advice.
    ————————————————————-

  38. Roberto says:

    And when it comes to diabetics and carbohydrates the following are worth pondering:

    http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/1/2/77.abstract
    http://www.vegan-nutritionista.com/dr-anderson.html

    Please forgive the vegan website I linked you too, I don’t have time to dig up that study and they did a good job summarizing it.

    Sorry, I realize I’ve veered off the topic of this post a little. And please forgive me if the tone of my writing has seemed confrontational.

    I enjoy your blog.

    Only the second link will open for me. I can’t get much from the second link, other than a brief description of a study in which people on whole grains improved their diabetes symptoms. The question to ask for this and every other nutrition study is: compared to what? I’ve seen several like this, dug up the full study, and in every case I’ve seen, they were comparing people consuming whole grains to people consuming white flour. That doesn’t prove that whole grains prevent diabetes. It proves that they’re a better option than white flour. Filtered cigarettes are better than unfiltered cigarettes, but I don’t recommend people smoke them. I recommend they not smoke. In several clinical studies, low-carb diets have shown the greatest improvements in blood-sugar control.

    I didn’t take your tone as confrontational, so there’s no need to apologize. I enjoy debates … perhaps too much at times, according to my wife.

  39. Be says:

    The most interesting thing about your readers is that as sure as they are that they are right about their dietary choices, they don’t care what anyone else thinks. Their own personal experience is all that matters. I COMPLETELY understand that. Hey it works for me (and it is scientifically logical) so I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

    No – your readers’ (myself included) biggest concern is that their govt keeps their noses out of our diets (and lives).

    Hmmm me thinks it is not a coincidence that you are a Libertarian.

    No, it’s no coincidence. I believe people should be free to make bad choices, too.

  40. Laurie says:

    There is no dietary requirement in human nutrition for wheat or carbohydrate— zero, zip, nADa, zilch. We require animal fat and cholesterol, water, air, and animal protein. We can handle and process (more or less) alcohol, sugar and wheat, some other poisons and toxins and we can well use quite a few plants’ stems, leaves and fruits- but they are not neccessary, just convenient and tasty.

    Indeed. We can take inferior foods like whole grains and make them less inferior by soaking and fermenting, but that still doesn’t make them good.

  41. I want to thank you Tom for blogging about our article in Nutrition. We do realize that it will not necessarily get much attention from the big nutrition players, but at least we did it. And I think we did it well. Now the real action will begin as we address HR 1382, a proposal for another White House Conference on Food and Nutrition. Very interesting that one of the bill’s prime sponsors is named McGovern. Go to http://www.forahealthynation.org, where in a month or so we hope to have updates on our progress on this bill. Also, friend the Healthy Nation Coalition on Facebook.

    Added your site to the Helpful Links as well.

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