Dear Members of the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee: 

I’m writing to thank you and all the members of the previous committees for your tireless work on the USDA’s dietary guidelines. You’ve made my job as a parent quite a bit easier.

I came to that conclusion yesterday when my wife and I joined our seven-year-old for lunch in her school cafeteria. My wife sends our girls to school with lunches she packs at home … usually some kind of meat or meaty stew accompanied by cheese sticks, carrots, apple slices, or olives. She also puts small bottles of water in their lunchboxes.

Most of the other kids eat lunches prepared in the cafeteria, which of course is required to follow the USDA guidelines. Yesterday’s government-approved lunch consisted of chicken nuggets (battered and deep-fried in vegetable oil), macaroni and cheese, mandarin oranges in some kind of syrup, and a drink. Some kids chose juice boxes for their drinks, others chose 1% or 2% milk, but the most popular choice was the 1% chocolate milk.

Naturally, I was horrified to see kids eating a meal consisting primarily of processed grains and sugar, and only slightly less horrified to realize that the meal was nearly devoid of natural fats. When I observed how many kids seemed to prefer the chocolate milk, my wife informed me that since the new USDA guidelines call for restricting fat even more, the school will soon limit its milk offerings to 1% white milk, skim white milk, and skim chocolate milk.

That’s when I realized what a huge favor you’ve done me.

Like any other father, I want my kids to succeed in life. I want them to win scholarships, attend the best colleges, and excel in whatever fields they choose to study. According to their teachers, they’re both bright girls. However, their school district is the highest-ranked in Tennessee and also one of the higher-ranked districts in the country, which means there are a lot of other bright kids in their classes. The competition to win scholarships some years from now ought to be fierce — but I don’t think it will be, at least not by the time my girls are in high school.

In an otherwise equal competition, there are two ways to gain an advantage: make yourself stronger, or find a way to weaken your opponents. We’re helping our daughters become as strong and as smart as we possibly can, but that may not be enough. Luckily for us, your dietary guidelines will simultaneously weaken the competition … sort of like a federally-funded Tonya Harding conspiring to give a whack to Nancy Kerrigan’s knees.

A growing human brain needs plenty of natural saturated fat and cholesterol, which is why Mother Nature was smart enough to put rather a lot of both in breast milk. Unlike their classmates, my girls have no idea what skim milk tastes like, because we never buy any. In fact, my daughters sometimes ask for extra cream in their whole milk, and we give it to them. They also eat lots of Kerry Gold butter, egg yolks, bacon fat, and marrow fat whenever my wife makes a stew.

Your committee and the previous committees have scared most parents away from serving kids these amazingly nutritious foods, which means my girls will have an advantage in cognitive development — especially now that you’ve instructed schools to remove what little natural fat was left in the milk. It may take some time for the difference in cognitive development to manifest, but the high concentrations of grains and fructose in the government-approved meals are already working to our benefit. While my girls are both alert and calm in class, other kids are already exhibiting signs of hyperactivity or difficulty concentrating.

When my seven-year-old was a toddler, she had occasional play dates with a boy her age who struck me as bright at the time. The boy’s mother served him fruit-spread sandwiches and juice for lunch and proudly informed us that she kept the boy on a low-fat diet. We learned recently that the boy — now a seven-year-old — is in a special class at school because he’s been diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Multiply him by several million, and you can see why I’m confident your dietary guidelines are giving my daughters a leg up on the academic competition. I don’t expect all kids who follow your recommended diet to be quite so hampered, but frankly, even a minor deceleration in cognitive growth will push my girls that much higher on the curve.

And if for some reason my daughters don’t reach the top academically, I think it’s possible they’ll nonetheless surpass their peers physically and win some kind of athletic scholarship. The kids in my daughter’s second-grade class are all lean at this point, but when I looked over to where the fifth-graders were eating, I saw several examples of what just a few extra years of a government-approved diet can accomplish. It’s kind of depressing to see 11-year-old girls with pretty faces and protruding bellies, but when I reminded myself that young women with fatty livers aren’t going to beat my daughters out of starting positions on the college track or basketball teams, my spirits were lifted.

So again, my sincere thanks for all the work you put into the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. I don’t know how much interaction you have with similar committees in other countries, but I urge you to do whatever you can to promote these guidelines around the world. After all, my girls will someday need to compete in a global economy.

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82 Responses to “My Thanks To The Dietary Guidelines Committee”
  1. monte says:

    From age zero to about 7 I lived in New Mexico and ate only what my mom fed me. No food from all my friends and my diet consisted of my moms titty milk, meats, greens, very little bread and a lot of cheese. I moved to Los Angeles and made a bunch of friends, ate their food at school and at their houses and within about 9 monthes started developing a bunch of skin problems, and got sick about three times as much as i did before. I was so young and was introduced to these NEW AMAZING FOODS (rice crispies, fruit rollups, coacoa puffs, etc.)from then on i was always halfway between eating extremely healthy to eating terribly away from home.I guess ive been eating a high fat and a high carb diet ever since I moved to LA. There are two things I have noticed about myself. the first thing i noticed is… not to sound cocky or anything but i have a nack for learning very easily like my brain is doing what it is suppose to do. I play guitar, drums, piano and I dont even feel like I had to try to learn them. My brain simply adapted to them extremely quickly. Ive noticed this with evrything I do. I pick it up like that. I tell myself its because I ate so well when my brain was developing the most (age 0 -7)
    The second thing I noticed is that i have seriously bad health problems that i didnt know know how to fix(hypertension+).They started in the last 2 years or so. (Im 19) when I saw this movie I felt like it was a godsend. My mom told me my health problems were being caused by stress, which i know is definately partially true, but after I tried this low carb, higher fat and cholesterol thing I realized how high strung I was eating all those whole grains, rice, and “healthy” breakfast cerials. eating over 300 carbs a day,plus greens and other vegetables. I was much more prone to stress and anxiety even though I I was eating pretty “healthy.” when I limited the carbs and doubled the eggs, meat, and olive oil(which i already ate some of ) it was like I watched my nervous system neutralize. and i was able to finaly chill out. i could barely hold a conversation before without a big vein popping out of my head and just wanting to get the hell away from people. Im still stressed for personal reasons but Im able to actually grasp it instead of being dragged by the tail, and my health is gradually getting better. My mom moved out of the country and I live with my bassplayer and his family. Im the conspiracy theorist of the house and they all think im crazy… Funny enough the big sister of the family just graduated from San Diego State University majoring in NUTRITION. I started talking about my new way of eating here and there and just the other day the big sister tried to give me a lesson about how i need 300 carbs a day for healthy brain function, and the whole family was pretty much like yeah she knows what shes talking about while she was bagging on fats and cholesterol. What is this country coming too! its sad to think that she graduated college and payed thousands of dollars to learn that shit, and i didnt even graduate highschool(too smart) Yet I get them all pissed off because I win arguments and they cant prove me wrong. I am living proof to myself, and they are the crazy ones!!! he he he he sorry for the longest comment ever…thanks for the movie Tom!

    I don’t know if it’s the longest ever, but it’s up there. 😉 Glad you enjoyed the film, and I hope returning to a natural diet continues to do wonders for your health and mood.

  2. Angel says:

    @Baldur – I suggest you follow the Twitter accounts of DietsAndScience and DrEades. They both frequently post links to research supporting low-carb, high-fat diets, including occasionally studies regarding children. Here are a few recent tweets from DietsAndScience:

    University of South Carolina study finds that low cholesterol may be a risk factor for for aggression in children http://t.co/1Qx8XlN

    UK study reports that gluten is implicated in neurological diseases (ADHD, Altzheimers, epilepsy etc) http://t.co/hS1k4Hv

    Italian study concludes that patients with autism could benefit from a gluten-free diet http://t.co/dVyAN1P

    http://twitter.com/DietsAndScience

    http://twitter.com/DrEades

    I follow both because they tweet so many studies.

  3. Richard Tamesis, M.D. says:

    Denise Minger just ripped the USDA’s guidelines another a-hole with her latest post.

    http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/02/04/the-new-usda-dietary-guideline/

    I bookmarked it to read tomorrow. She’s a real talent.

  4. Tammy says:

    Classic !!!!

  5. Sigi says:

    DiscoStew, we are NOT fatter than Americans (no offence to our American friends intended).

    The popular media kerfuffle that put that idea through Australian society a couple of years ago was based on data collected in an utterly unscientific, poorly structured survey.

    Basically, the people doing this “study” collected weight/health data from volunteers who signed up for free health checks in some Australian shopping centres. Now who do you think will sign up for a free health check at a suburban shopping centre? Any chance that perhaps they got more fat 45+ year olds who might have a few qualms about their blood pressure and cholesterol levels (gotta be terrified of cholesterol!!) than all those slimmer and healthier folk in their 20s and 30s who aren’t yet worried about such things and wouldn’t bother spending the time?

    And then they take the “data” they collect from this totally unrepresentative sample of the Australian population and sternly tell us we’re one of the fattest peoples on Earth. And the gullible Australian media just spit this pap back up to us like it was fact. Seriously, I don’t think we have any decent investigative journalists or clear-thinking news editors left in this country.

    End rant. Good post, Tom. I’m glad we don’t have lunch programmes in our schools, because I could foresee the same kind of disaster unfolding here. They’d probably make bloody Milo compulsory!

    Sounds as if they were looking to jack up the numbers. Glad to know we’re not the only country with a gullible media.

  6. Rose says:

    Our simpering government in New Zealand bends over and takes the US recommendations leading us all down the same unhealthy path. Luckily for us all our beef is grassfed and none of our schools serve lunches.

    Schools here didn’t serve lunches when I was a kid either, at least until I was in fifth grade. Then somebody decided if schools didn’t serve lunch, kids would starve.

  7. Vicki says:

    Mr. Fathead (Tom Naughton), loved your dvd and speech. Wanted to share this blog from doctors and heart surgeons who are on the side of the truth about the benefits of dietary fat, cholesterol, carb restriction, etc. I found your link in a newsletter and I am so grateful as it has put me on a path of weight loss and loss of sugar and carbohydrate cravings. I have been actively searching for about ten years and I know this is the missing link to my health. It has lead to Gary Taubes, Drs. Eades, and others including these two links in line with your.

    The Statin Scam
    http://www.spacedoc.net/statin_scam
    During my career as a surgeon I performed over 5000 coronary bypass operations. I left the surgery that I loved to speak the truth about heart disease, inflammation, statin medications, and the current methods of treating heart disease. http://www.spacedoc.net/statin_scam

    “The Heart Scan” Blog http://heartscanblog.blogspot.com/2011/01/how-to-become-diabetic-in-5-easy-steps.htmlis another Heart Doctor promoting insulin regulation as the key to weight loss including increasing fat intake.

    I don’t normally post blogs but felt I wanted to share this with you as you are a platform to this inevitable movement towards the truth that the government recommended food pyramid is set up to make us fat and sick.

    Thank you.

    Both excellent sites.

  8. Marilyn says:

    So many tragedies here: Millions of children born into a land of heretofore unknown abundance willingly subjected to poor nutrition. Thousands of children labeled as somehow deficient as a result of the poor nutrition. Millions of people born into a country of heretofore unknown freedoms, willingly turning their lives and those of their children, over to government control.

    That about sums it up.

  9. michelle says:

    I’d love to read a post by your wife on her favorite recipes and meal ideas. We’re kinda new to this and with two young children, I’d love a pile of kid- approved meal ideas!

    Thank you for all your research!

    She put some of her recipes into a document for me awhile ago. I need to dig that out and expand on it.

  10. Galina L. says:

    I have a new challenge – my son went to college in august last year and they must get their food from the college cafeteria during the first year of education. Better then school cafeteria, but not much. Next year he will try to take care of his food by himself and I will have to find some easy recipes suitable for a picky and household lazy teenager who doesn’t eat eggs, liver, lamb,fish. Fortunately, he trusts my advice, but it is much more difficult to make sure your child eats healthy away from home.

    I believe college cafeteria food has a lot to do with that “Freshman 15.”

  11. DiscoStew says:

    Whether Australians are fatter than Americans or Americans are fatter than Australians is a moot point. The fact remains that the number of overweight people in Australia or America is on the rise. Heck, go to any shopping centre, sit down, and count the number of fatties that walk-by: their numbers are clearly on the rise. And why are their numbers on the rise? Well, I think we all know the answer to that one. And “No”, it’s not about calories-in vs calories-out. The likes of Tom and Gary Taubes have shown us that.

    DS

  12. Deborah M says:

    Tom, great article as usual. I find myself very conflicted about how to feed my two year old, though. In general we eat low-carb in our house, although my stick-thin constantly-hungry husband usually does have some carbs in at least one of his meals because he just can’t fill up otherwise (we stick to whole grain bread or quinoa wherever possible though).

    My problem is that I was very restricted in terms of what I was allowed to eat when I was a child, so as soon as I had any control of my own, I binged. And I also hated feeling different from the other kids. I’m as concerned with emotional health as I am with physical health, and so with a 2 year old who really can’t understand concepts of nutrition just yet, while I try and feed him good low-carb stuff wherever possible, I also allow him to eat the junk that other kids do. I don’t want him to feel deprived or different when he just doesn’t understand. As soon as he is old enough, I aim to start trying to educate him so that he can begin to choose for himself and understand that he’s not being deprived, but helped to be as healthy as possible, but none of the schools here allow you to bring your own food, so I feel like I have to be resigned to bad nutrition for many years outside the house and just hope that the good fats and proteins he will get at home will balance that out.

    Until about two weeks ago, he had never had cereal at home. He just had full fat milk before heading out to daycare, or eggs when there was time. But my parents were visiting a while back and I bought them a box of cornflakes since I haven’t managed to persuade them not to eat them yet, and a couple of weeks ago my son saw the box and asked for some. Now he asks for them every flipping day and it is really hard to not allow him. Although he does eat decent protein and fats, he is a fussy eater, and now that he’s met them outside the house, he asks for pizza, and pretzels, and crackers, etc.

    It’s a battle. I’m very impressed you’ve managed to inoculate your kids against junk food already. I hope it lasts and they don’t succumb to the lure.

    We started explaining to our girls early on that we don’t want them to eat much sugar or flour because those foods can eventually make them fat and sick and ruin their teeth. They don’t always like it, but they get it. And of course, it’s our job as parents to say no if they want to fill up on junk all the time.

    That being said, we also avoid being food Nazis for exactly the reason you described. My daughter was at a birthday party yesterday and had pizza and soda. No big deal. She knew it was junk and decided she wanted it anyway. As we’ve explained to her, it’s okay once in awhile, but only once in awhile.

  13. Leta says:

    This post makes me want to laugh and cry at the same time.

    It boggles the mind how badly the Fed has managed to completely f*ck up virtually every part of the food system, from guidelines up through farm subsidies.

    I think (hope?) that people are starting to wake up. Not even getting into exercise, but since we’ve started eating less fat, and more sugar, what has happened? Diabetes/obesity. What is diabetes a disease of? Inability to metabolize carbohydrate. People are starting to make the connection, because if you know a blinking thing about diabetes, it’s impossible not to.

    I’m grateful to live in the digital age. I think people are waking up because there are so many more sources of information.

  14. Ricardo says:

    I’m no parent or anything. But don’t kids need Omega 3 Fats and other healthy fats for the normal development of the brain and cognitive functions since they are still growing?

    Of course they do.

  15. Great post Tom – as always!

    @TonyNZ (since I don’t know how to contact you any other way) Rare Fare had duckfat when I popped in just before Christmas. You could give them a try, and they do have online sales: http://www.rarefare.co.nz/
    Or you can render your own when you roast a duck for dinner 😉

  16. Laurie says:

    I was having the weirdest thoughts about prevention, of all things, today.
    Our house is leaking. I live in the North East and we’ve had a lot of snow. We have ice dams on the roof and every night, we wait for it- the sound of which window is now letting in water. Our neighbor’s house is about 13 years younger than ours and the specs for building changed in that time….for the better when it comes to ice dams. They have no ice dams. With time consuming work and ladders and a roof rake we have stemmed some of the leaking tide. But the improvement in the building codes and the prevention of ice dams in the first place is so much better than trying to get rid of them after they develop! Why is modern medicine so incapable of prevention (I said this was a weird connection)? I’m not talking about the scam of Lipitor for prevention of CHD or anything. If the public was informed that eschewing eating sugar and grains and Franken fats for ever, is the strongest preventative against the development of AD, CHD, cancer, diabetes, obesity etc etc etc etc etc, very few would have to suffer with these horrific diseases. We need improved building (eating) codes.

    Weird connection, but I followed. Everyone is up in arms about health care costs, and yet the battle is over how to pay for treatment. The focus should be on avoiding the need for treatment.

  17. Jo says:

    I actually don’t mind the idea of kids eating cake and stuff like that because most people know it’s not healthy. Just, as you say, once in a while for most people doesn’t do much harm. Learning to use treats sparingly is probably a good life lesson.

    What I feel sad about is parents giving their kids sugar, starch, soy etc thinking that they are feeding their kids a healthy diet because the Govt and the ‘experts’ said so. These parents are doing the best they can, and yet their kids’ health will suffer as a result. Those cereal bars sweetened with fruit (one of your five a day!!) are the worst at the moment. According to the advertising we need these because our lives are so hectic now that we don’t have time to put milk on our cereal.

    That’s the situation that bothers me the most. My wife’s friend thought she was doing right by her son, giving him fruit spread and juice while limiting his fat intake.

  18. Galina L. says:

    Government guidelines are important. Right now we can stay in our low-carb niche but personal choices are not always possible. Children are going to college, we may go to hospital or to assisted care facility later in life. Until low-carbing is not considered one of legitimate options like kosher or vegetarian, we are not safe. Just imagine some registered dietitian deciding what you will eat.

    Some readers have commented that they’re not allowed to pack a lunch for their kids, which creates exactly the situation you described: some government dietician is then deciding what your kid will eat for lunch.

  19. Jane M says:

    Is it possible to somehow get this article to Michelle Obama? Or do you think she already knows this but the food industry has her arms tied behind her back? I was heartsick when I heard her say that all the food services for our GIs will only have skim milk…

    I think people who consider themselves qualified to tell everyone else how to eat are too arrogant to be persuaded. There was lots of praise in the press — oh, isn’t it wonderful the first lady is taking on this task! — but to me, it’s just another example of the arrogance of government officials.

  20. Lori says:

    Laurie, I live in a 100-year-old house that’s stood up to two 100-year snow storms that dumped three feet of snow. No leaks, no creaking. And the basement is always dry as toast. I have a 1930s percolater that makes delicious coffee in five minutes. My old rotary phone with a wood casing works perfectly. My internet friends who are vintage enthusiasts could name a hundred other things they have that are 60 years old or more–from the Golden Era–and work perfectly.

    The Golden Era conventional wisdom on staying slim? Go easy on the bread and potatoes and skip dessert. On diabetes? Annual testing for everyone, especially for relatives of diabetics, and a carb-restricted diet and intermittent fasting if you had the disease.

    Step 1 for getting our collective health out of reverse: Catch up to where we were 100 years ago.

  21. Rocky says:

    To Deborah from the previous post,

    I understand the challenge of controlling the diet of a small child. I have a five year old and as tempted as I am to militantly control her diet to avoid every speck of sugar or grains, like you I believe that to do so too strictly would cause her to rebound to excess as soon as she’s out of my control (be it at a friend’s house or at school or wherever).

    I’ve tried very hard to make it clear to her from as early as she could begin to understand that what our mouths want and what our bodies need are not always the same. We’ve painted sugars and sweets as special treats that we allow ourselves to have occasionally, not daily. We have a box or two of sugary cereals (though we try to find some with no wheat or corn) but we allow her to have it only once or twice in a week, steering her towards eggs or yogurt or whatever the other times.

    When she goes to a birthday party, we want her to fit in. So if she wants cake, she can have it. Or a cupcake. Or ice cream. We’ll do our best to steer her towards water instead of “juice” or towards having one piece of cake instead of two, but overall we let her fit in. We’ll tell her when we’re back at home that because she had sugar and wheat at the party she can’t have any at home for a couple of days and she’s okay with that. Or we’ll tell her in advance, if you’re going to have cake at the party Saturday, you can’t have any sweets today or tomorrow. (OF course, for her birthday if she wants a cake we get one for her.)

    Slowly this is sinking in and she’s understanding instead of just complying. The other day at the grocery store she was picking up cereal boxes and reading the ingredients and yelling “look, Dad, this is nothing but sugar and corn” or “this is nothing but wheat and sugar, why would anyone eat this junk?!” People were staring but I felt very proud of my five year old.

    I’m sure that when she reaches middle school and high school she’ll eat garbage from time to time but I’m clinging to the belief that because we’ve laid a good foundation, she won’t view carbs as a staple, as most of her peers in school will.

    It helps that she sees Mom and Dad always eating this way, too.

    Don’t take this to mean that I think I’ve got a perfect solution to this challenge. It’s an ever present struggle. I’m just saying you’re not alone in this.

    As for the grandparents, the best thing we’ve found is to educate them on all of this so that they’re as much of an example as we are. So far, we’re successful with only one set of grandparents. Maybe in time we’ll bring the others into the light.

  22. Ricardo says:

    I don’t understand why the USDA is making such a diet for kids then. They should emphasize the value of Omega 3 and healthy fats simply because all fats are not created equal.

    I’d like the USDA to get out of the nutrition-advice business completely. But if they’re going to stay in, I wish they’d at least get it right.

  23. Dani says:

    I only came upon your site yesterday evening and haven’t yet watched the film, so it’s highly possible you’ve addressed this elsewhere, but I was wondering about your opinion on hemp seed oil. It seems that animal fats are more highly-touted than plant fats through the site, though I do see quite a bit of information on coconut oil.

    I eat 60 grams of shelled hemp seed every morning for breakfast. 320 calories, 22 grams of protein, 2 grams fibre, 19.6 grams of fat (1.4 saturated, 4g omega-3, 12.4g omega 6, 1.6g omega-9). I do use coconut oil as well, though not as much as I probably should. I cook in butter or olive oil, or bacon fat. After reading this, I’m just realizing that I’m getting quite a lot of my fat intake from plant sources. I’ll be doing a lot more research into this diet style, but I was wondering about your (or any of the posters, really) experience with hemp seed.

    I realize that it is not widely available in the United States as it is regulated by the DEA, as there are trace amounts of THC, and consumption has not been deemed safe (http://www.educatingvoices.org/MediaKit/Final%20OverviewoftheLegalityofHempFoodProducts.pdf). I don’t know if there are instances of availability, but I know that the product is available in Canada even at Superstore, so it’s moved out of just the ‘health food’ stores. I bought my 25-pound bucket direct from the supplier because it’s too expensive to buy it otherwise, but it’s good to know that it’s becoming more easily available.

    I have no idea about hemp seed.

  24. gallier2 says:

    Hemp seed oil has too much polyunsaturates. It’s highly unstable and turns rancid faster than you can look. But even when not rancid it has an unusual dominant taste, it tastes like freshly cut lawn grass, and making a salad with it destroys the little aroma of the salads. It is often praised for its high content of gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6) but I haven’t found one single serious source of info of any benefit it could have.

    We get it here in Luxembourg quite easily with other “special oils” like poppy oil (which is the highest linoleic acid containing oil I’ve ever seen) and extra cold pressed rape seed oil.
    So forget about it, except as paint varnish (its traditional use before the big conspiracy to replace it by the more lucrative petroleum derivatives) its use as food source is more than questionable.

  25. gallier2 says:

    As for the hemp seed, afaik they have a good amino acid profile but I doubt that they should be more than a supplement. Why? Because no civilization ever subsisted on them for food, there are thousands of application for hemp (did you know that your constirution is written onh hemp?) but it never was more than an emergency food in case of famine. Besides it doesn’t taste very good, I had once a granola that contained hemp seeds that was ok (at the time I was into granola) but hemp seed in itself taste like grass (lawn grass). It’s actually quite easy here to get hemp seeds, they are sold by the kilo as bird food, you only need to go to a pet shop.

  26. Dani says:

    Peanuts (for particular wild-bird feeds) and sunflower seeds are sold as bird food as well, but the processing is slightly different, as is the case with hemp seeds.

    Having an issue with the taste is one thing, but I don’t think that a food can be discounted based solely on taste. I actually like the taste of it, and I know quite a few other people who do as well. Of course, here, I can buy it directly from the farmers who grow it, and receive it in a week, so the freshness and quality may be higher than when it has to be shipped and stored for longer periods. The quality of hemp seed is a major issue, even here, and you can’t just buy any ol’ hemp seed and think it’s going to work out. I have also never tried the oil, because I like the protein that I get from consuming the seeds themselves.

    The oils are far less stable than many others, admittedly, but the seeds can be kept for a year in the freezer (which is what I do). I’ve never had issues with hemp and I’ve been buying it for years. I used to eat it more sparingly, but began to eat it more regularly for the protein and fats.

    The oils need to be stored properly, preferably in dark glass, and I’ve seen plastic bottles with hemp oil, which is part of the problem. The oil (as with the seeds) can also be stored in the freezer to extend shelf life.

    I agree with you, galleri2, that one should not try to survive solely on hemp seed.

    And, while not a lot is known about GLA and all the benefits (or lack thereof), we do know that it is found in breast milk, and babies who are fed formula rather than breast milk are deficient in GLA, which can cause developmental problems (http://www.thorne.com/altmedrev/.fulltext/9/1/70.pdf and I do apologize for not making these clickable links; I’m not exactly a pro when it comes to things like that). There is also promising evidence regarding GLAs but as with many natural products that don’t have to be manufactured by a pharmaceutical company, it’s not where the research dollars tend to go.

    I’m going to continue my research into hemp seed as a food product, as sparse as the data seems to be.

  27. gallier2 says:

    Dani, don’t get me wrong, I’m far from being against hemp seeds. As I said, the granola (it’s called müesli on this side of the Atlantic) I had which contained them tasted actually quite good, the problem is that I don’t consume a lot of grains anymore, so müesli is out, hemp or not hemp. Thank you for the link, but I suppose the benefit of GLA comes from relieving a bit delta-6 desaturase allowing a higher conversion rate on the omega-3 fats.
    Baby formula lacks even more of DHA and EPA (and contain often other nasties not present in mother milk, like sucrose or even starch).
    As for the oil, I think that the danger of fatty acid oxydation far outweighs the benefit the GLA could ever provide. The last bottle I bought (in 2001 before low-carb/paleo thinking) went rancid in less than 2 weeks.

  28. Jen says:

    Oh my goodness. This is just brilliant. I’m going to be sharing it with quite a few folks!

    Thank you.

  29. Dana says:

    I actually like the taste of toasted hempseed and if I had to eat seed I’d rather eat it than wheat. That said, there is far too much polyunsaturated oil in it, and any time you’ve got PUFAs you want to aim for a 1:1 ratio of omega-6 to omega-3. Look at your O6:O3 ratio again, Dani. You’re buying yourself a one-way ticket to chronic disease.

    I know, I know, hemp’s so healthy. They used to say the same thing about whole wheat. (Some folks still do.) I was born in 1974 and I remember when wheat germ was hailed as a health food to the extent that hemp is now. Wheat germ’s just about always rancid when you purchase it, too.

    If I have to keep the oil in the fridge just to avoid rancidity I use it very, very sparingly or not at all. I keep my butter in the fridge, but mostly out of habit; it’s just about all saturated and it’d take a long, long time to go bad. Stable fats are by far the best for the body. Doesn’t matter if it’s solid at room temperature. If my body were at room temperature I’d have worse to worry about than whether saturates were clogging my arteries. (They’re not.)

    I’d love to see hemp legalized for all its non-food uses. But to eat it, well, I’d rather leave it for the birds, who need it far more than I do. Their metabolisms are better suited to seed-eating; they make more amylase, for one thing, than humans do and their body chemistry is better capable of neutralizing phytic acid and various other factors protecting seeds from digestion in such a way that over the long term, they ruin human health.

    Tom: I can’t promise my daughter’s diet is perfect but she eats a lot more butter than the general population, she drinks whole-fat milk (grass-fed, non-homogenized), and she eats things that would horrify the average six-year-old, such as those little dried and salted fish they sell as snack foods in Japanese groceries. She eats them whole, eyes and all. Blew my mind, I can’t bring myself to join her but I recognize how good they are for her.

    It bothers me a lot to see parents hand-wringing about the USDA dictating school lunches. Don’t they know they have other options than public school? There are lower-income and welfare parents homeschooling their kids, so I don’t see why a middle-class family can’t.

    We’ll have to agree to disagree about the whole paying for health care thing. Had we not had publicly funded fire and police departments all this time I bet there would be libertarians arguing against them being paid for with public funds. Preventative medicine is always better than fixing problems after they arise, but even if everyone adopted perfect diets tomorrow, accidents still happen. I should think we’d at least have some kind of funding scheme in place for those, because it’s the sudden stuff that seems to bankrupt a lot of people. There’s never been a time when everyone could afford to pay the doctor in cash; some folks didn’t even have much to barter. As long as we insist upon organizing ourselves into nation-states wherein we are obliged to identify total strangers as “one of us”, it seems to me there ought to be some level of social benefit that comes along with that as well. I benefit when half the people around me are not diseased or missing limbs or grieving lost loved ones because they couldn’t get themselves or a loved one to the doctor in time. Period.

  30. Danielle says:

    LOL I love this!! You are too funny.
    Just wanted to tell you: I have read many of your blog posts and interviews. I watched your movie last winter and it changed my life. I have researched so much into health and nutrition. I have read countless books. I have received innumerable health benefits which also my friends and family adopted too.

    I am in college now majoring in math. As a part of the Honors College students I will write a 12 page research paper due in December on any topic I choose. My paper is about cholesterol and saturated fat. I explain the anthropology, marketing, clinical studies, and the breakdown of the two lipids.

    I would have done none of this if I did not watch your movie that you so generously gave to hulu. Thank you Tom!

    Outstanding. I hope that paper shakes up your professor.

  31. Dani says:

    Well, I’m not sure if anyone would go back and re-read their comments, but just wanted to give a little update. I’m the “hemp seed” Dani from earlier. Dana and gallier2, I’ve cut the hemp out of my diet. I did more research, watched the film, read a stack of the books recommended on the site, and realized that I was still eating a grain, even if its profile is better than wheat.

    As Tom has put it before, saying that hemp is better than wheat would be akin to saying that filtered cigarettes are better than unfiltered ones. Yikes.

    I’m not strictly Paleo and probably never will be, but I’m eating better than I ever have. All thanks to Tom!

    So thank you Tom! I’m still spreading the word, trying to get people to watch the DVD. It was a revelation for my Mom, who has been trying to convince my Dad to watch it. I’m going to keep trying to get people to look into their diets and nutrition. I’ll just start putting my before and after photos into the DVD case when I lend it out, because I think it’s a lot easier for people to believe it when they actually know you. Not that I really want to show a bunch of people my picture at 40 pounds heavier, but if it might encourage one person to change, I think it would worth it.

    I appreciate the compliment and I’m gratified to know Fat Head helped.

  32. gallier2 says:

    Yes Dani, I get also informed of responses on old comments (the magic of rss syndication) on some blogs and thank you for your update. It’s always a nice thing to see people getting better even when not knowing them.

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