Dietary Guidelines: From Dairies to Berries

Dietary Guidelines: From Dairies to Berries
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The success story in Finland shows that science-based dietary guidelines can save millions of lives.

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Why do we care what the federal Dietary Guidelines say? Well, the Guidelines do “direct how billions of dollars are spent in programs like the School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Food Stamp Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children [WIC].” More importantly, though, is their potential to turn this country’s health around.

After World War II, Finland joined us in packing on the meat, eggs, and dairy. By the 1970s, the mortality rate from heart disease of Finnish men was the highest in the world. They didn’t want to die, so they got serious. Heart disease is caused by high cholesterol; high cholesterol is caused by high saturated fat intake; so, the main focus of the strategy was to reduce the high saturated fat intake. So that means basically cheese and chicken, cake and pork.

So, a berry project was launched to help dairy farmers make a switch to berry farming. Whatever it took! And indeed, many farmers did switch from dairies to berries. They pitted villages against each other in friendly cholesterol-lowering competitions, to see who could do the best for prizes.

So how’d they do? On a population scale, look, even if mortality rates drop 5%, you could still save thousands of lives. But remarkably great changes took place.

An 80% drop in cardiac mortality across the entire country. “With greatly reduced cardiovascular and cancer mortality the all cause mortality was reduced about 45%, leading to greater life expectancy: approximately 7 years for men and 6 years for women.” That’s what real dietary guidance can do.

Now vying for the world record heart disease death rates: the United States of America.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Peter Mellor.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to foxypar4 / Flickr

Why do we care what the federal Dietary Guidelines say? Well, the Guidelines do “direct how billions of dollars are spent in programs like the School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program, the Food Stamp Program and the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children [WIC].” More importantly, though, is their potential to turn this country’s health around.

After World War II, Finland joined us in packing on the meat, eggs, and dairy. By the 1970s, the mortality rate from heart disease of Finnish men was the highest in the world. They didn’t want to die, so they got serious. Heart disease is caused by high cholesterol; high cholesterol is caused by high saturated fat intake; so, the main focus of the strategy was to reduce the high saturated fat intake. So that means basically cheese and chicken, cake and pork.

So, a berry project was launched to help dairy farmers make a switch to berry farming. Whatever it took! And indeed, many farmers did switch from dairies to berries. They pitted villages against each other in friendly cholesterol-lowering competitions, to see who could do the best for prizes.

So how’d they do? On a population scale, look, even if mortality rates drop 5%, you could still save thousands of lives. But remarkably great changes took place.

An 80% drop in cardiac mortality across the entire country. “With greatly reduced cardiovascular and cancer mortality the all cause mortality was reduced about 45%, leading to greater life expectancy: approximately 7 years for men and 6 years for women.” That’s what real dietary guidance can do.

Now vying for the world record heart disease death rates: the United States of America.

To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Peter Mellor.

Please consider volunteering to help out on the site.

Image thanks to foxypar4 / Flickr

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