Weston A. Price Response to the USDA Guidelines

A couple of readers sent me this response to the USDA guidelines. It’s two hours long, but worth the time. If you’ve seen Fat Head, you’ll recognize Sally Fallon from the Weston A. Price Foundation.

On a personal note, I’ll be out of town for a few days.  My maternal grandmother died today, so we’re heading to Illinois to be with family and attend the funeral.  Nothing tragic here … Grandma was 94, and when her health began to seriously decline a year ago, she told my mom she hoped God would bring her home soon.  I hope my mom lives at least that long; it would mean having her around for another 20 years.  (Sorry, Mom, I just gave away your age.)

I won’t have a chance to approve comments or answer emails for long stretches, but I’ll get to them when I can.

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25 thoughts on “Weston A. Price Response to the USDA Guidelines

  1. Lori

    Tom, I’m sorry for your loss. Even when someone is ready to go, it’s hard for those left behind.

    Re: the video, at 7:00, Fallon talks about saturated fat’s part in lung health. I didn’t know that. My next door neighbor had been on a strict low-fat diet for years (doctor’s orders, I think). A few years ago, around age 64, she died of the flu, a respiratory illness. Of course, there’s no way of knowing whether she’d be alive now had she followed a different diet. But it makes me wonder if a lot of deaths from pneumonia among hospital patients–people with compromised health and eating a crappy hospital diet–could be avoided.

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  2. Ellen

    My condolences on the loss of your grandmother. Although it sounds like it was the right thing for her, it’s not easy to let go of a person you love. Safe travels.

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  3. James Gegner

    Sorry to hear about your grandmother, Tom. At least she’s in a better place now.

    Regarding the press conference, it really doesn’t surprise me that the committee responsible for producing these guidelines totally ignored evidence that contradicts what they recommend. As you said yourself in Fat Head, the reason is simple: there’s too much money involved.

    It seems to me that if America’s school-age children are ever going to be able to have healthy, nutritious food instead of the horribly tasteless and highly processed garbage that they’re being served nowadays, that either the USDA itself would have to be abolished, or at least its power to dictate national nutrition policy ought to be severely restricted.

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  4. Sabine

    My condolences on the death of your grandmother. Safe journey for you and your family.
    Looking forward to viewing the WAP piece (in bits).

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  5. Phyllis Mueller

    Condolences on the loss of your grandmother, Tom. How lucky you were to have her in your life for so long! Hope the trip to Illinois is safe and pleasant for everyone.

    And thanks for posting the WAP news conference.

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  6. Melanie Chalk

    I am so glad I logged on and watched your movie tonight! I especially enjoyed your original music — very fun. I’ve just emailed your link out to my family so they can all get on board with your host of great information. Thanks for sharing your talent and research!

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  7. Clark

    More people should have been present at the conference. I think a political movement needs to protect these people because merely being educated isn’t enough. These psychos in the USDA and our government will continue the assault on our bodies, minds, and spirit unless we fight back because only by fighting will these sociopaths back off.

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  8. Gretchen

    Just started watching the video presentation by the Weston Price Foundation. At 5:10-5:12 Sally Fallon majorly misspoke when she said that Vitamin A is only found in cholesterol rich foods. I think she must have been meaning to refer to Arachidonic Acid (AA) (not Vitamin A which is found in vegetables such as sweet potatoes and carrots) as she was just talking about essential fatty acids.

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  9. Henriette

    Gretchen
    There is NO true vitamin A(retinol) in veggies- only carotene

    Read on
    “Unfortunately, the vast majority of popular books on nutrition insist that humans can obtain vitamin A from fruits and vegetables. Even worse, FDA regulations allow food processors to label carotenes as vitamin A. The label for a can of tomatoes says that tomatoes contain vitamin A, even though the only source of true vitamin A in the tomatoes is the microscopic insect parts. The food industry, and the lowfat school of nutrition that the industry has spawned, benefit greatly from the fact that the public has only vague notions about vitamin A. In fact, most of the foods that provide large amounts of vitamin A—butter, egg yolks, liver, organ meats and shellfish—have been subject to intense demonization.
    Under optimal conditions, humans can indeed convert carotenes to vitamin A. This occurs in the upper intestinal tract by the action of bile salts and fat-splitting enzymes. Of the entire family of carotenes, beta-carotene is most easily converted to vitamin A. Early studies indicated an equivalency of 4:1 of beta-carotene to retinol. In other words, four units of beta-carotene were needed to produce one unit of vitamin A. This ratio was later revised to 6:1 and recent research suggests an even higher ratio.5 This means that you have to eat an awful lot of vegetables and fruits to obtain even the daily minimal requirements of vitamin A, assuming optimal conversion.
    But the transformation of carotene to retinol is rarely optimal. Diabetics and those with poor thyroid function, a group that could well include at least half the adult US population, cannot make the conversion. Children make the conversion very poorly and infants not at all — they must obtain their precious stores of vitamin A from animal fats6— yet the low-fat diet is often recommended for children. Strenuous physical exercise, excessive consumption of alcohol, excessive consumption of iron (especially from “fortified” white flour and breakfast cereal), use of a number of popular drugs, excessive consumption of polyunsaturated fatty acids, zinc deficiency and even cold weather can hinder the conversion of carotenes to vitamin A,7 as does the lowfat diet.” from WAP

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  10. Craig

    @Gretchen, Although your body can convert carotenes – found in certain fruits and vegetables – into vitamin A, animal products contain vitamin A in a form which is much easier for your body to extract.

    @Tom, I’m sorry for your loss. Have a safe journey.

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  11. labrat

    My condolences. My thoughts and prayers will be with your family this week.

    Disappointed in this press conference, it was pretty haphazard. Did they issue a written report with it? I couldn’t find one on their website.

    I haven’t checked their website, but they said something about slides and other materials being available.

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  12. Gretchen

    Craig and Henriette,
    Thank you for enlightening me! I will attribute my ignorance on the matter to “normal” acceptance of conventional wisdom, which once again gets thrown out the window. This has been quite the learning process I am going through since starting my low carb journey after watching Fat Head. Thanks also for the WAP reference..another thing I can share with my family.

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  13. your older brother

    Henreitte,

    “The label for a can of tomatoes says that tomatoes contain vitamin A, even though the only source of true vitamin A in the tomatoes is the microscopic insect parts. ”

    I feel like an idiot — I’ve been killing the bugs on my plants and eating the tomatoes, instead of the other way around. I’ll know better this season, but it’s probably going to make the chili taste a little different!

    Great info — thanks.

    Cheers.

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  14. Pamela Schoenfeld RD

    Hi Tom,

    REALLY REALLY LOVED YOUR MOVIE!!!! Thank you for making it – you have done a wonderful service for all Americans. Thank you also for sharing the Weston A. Price Dietary Guidelines Press Conference on your website. (My personal feeling about the USDA’s failure to address the shortfall of choline is that it borders on criminal neglect – but then I am not a lawyer. Of course, we know there are many other failures we can point to – but the choline problem is one they actually have documented knowledge of yet choose to ignore.)

    As the director of the Healthy Nation Coalition, and along with Adele Hite, the Chair of Policy, I wanted to discuss using your film as a way of educating our federal legislators on the important national issue of the USDA’s failure in creating dietary guidelines that follow the science, not the money. It is our mission to move the DGs out of the USDA’s domain. In some ways, I agree it might be preferable not to have governmental food guidelines at all, but since so many federal food assistance programs are in place now, I am not sure this will be possible.

    I would welcome an opportunity to discuss this with you at your convenience.

    Thank you,
    Pam

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  15. Erin L.

    Vitamin A in the form of retinol – found in animal products. True statement.

    Beta-carotene, which is a precursor of Vitamin A, is found in vegetable products. Your body is more than able to do this, provided you are healthy and your liver is working properly. Unless you are a carnivore, so some animal models won’t work very well.

    When vitamin A is labled on vegetable products, it is really retinol equivalants (RE). Vitamin A is fat soluble, so I don’t think it would be easily absorbed from a low fat insect.

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  16. Brent

    Hey, I’m from Illinois!! Love the Doc, I’ve been arguing with people about this for years…it feels good to finally see this getting so much recognition. I’ve always been a big prominent of the negative effects of transitioning from the hunter-gathering lifestyle.

    Reading a swell book about it right now called, “Pandora’s Seed”..the consequences are far more worse than just bad dietary habits.

    Keep up the good work!

    I was an Iowa/Illinois kid. Iowa through fourth grade, then Illinois until I left for Los Angeles 13 years ago, now Tennessee. Don’t plan on moving again.

    Reply

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