Dietary Guidelines: It’s All Greek to the USDA

Dietary Guidelines: It’s All Greek to the USDA
4.71 (94.29%) 7 votes

Unlike the United States, where the agriculture department is the lead agency on formulating dietary recommendations, other countries such as Greece rely on their health department. What do their dietary guidelines look like?

Comenta
Comparte

When it comes to formulating dietary recommendations, what happens when there’s a conflict between science and commercial interests—when the science says eat less animal fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar, but the meat, dairy, egg, salt and sugar industries strongly protest any advice to consume less of their products?

“This put the USDA in a tough position: if it follows the science, it would violate its duty to promote the agricultural industry; if it protected the industry, it would violate its duty to issue science-based dietary advice [not to mention contributing to the deaths of millions of Americans]. The USDA has sometimes responded to this conflict by choosing industry over science.”

Here’s an idea: why not “have a health agency give health advice?”

Why is the agriculture department the lead agency on formulating dietary recommendations? Why not the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? “Just as many other nations do, the United States could put an appropriate health agency in charge of dietary advice.”

What about countries that do actually have health professionals in charge? What are their recommendations like? Take the dietary guidelines in Greece. I’m not saying they’re not without bias, but at least they were put together by the Ministry of Health and Welfare; what a concept.

This is what our guidelines could say: “Prefer fruits and nuts as snacks, instead of sweets and candy bars.” Radical! “Always prefer water over soft drinks.” The USDA could never get away with saying something like that.

Here’s their food pyramid. First thing I noticed: non-refined grains. No pussyfooting around. Not “choose carbohydrates wisely.” Whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole grains, period. And these guidelines were released back in 1999, when U.S. guidelines didn’t make any distinction between whole and refined grains at all. And our guidelines still condone half of grain intake as refined grains. Why? There’s no science to support that; it’s just a big gift to the processed and junk food industry.

What else? Avoid salt. Good strong message; replace with herbs. Nice. Nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day—including wild greens. I’m impressed.

Probably the most important thing about these guidelines is that the daily diet is vegetarian. A few times a week, if you want, according to the guidelines, you can have white meat and, at most, three times a week, eggs or candy. And the rest of meat is monthly. One serving a week—that’s like 25 times less meat than what the current USDA guidelines allow.

And of course, obligatory woman in a bathing suit, because of course that’s what women wear when they go jogging.

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 ozmafan via Flickr

When it comes to formulating dietary recommendations, what happens when there’s a conflict between science and commercial interests—when the science says eat less animal fat, cholesterol, salt, and sugar, but the meat, dairy, egg, salt and sugar industries strongly protest any advice to consume less of their products?

“This put the USDA in a tough position: if it follows the science, it would violate its duty to promote the agricultural industry; if it protected the industry, it would violate its duty to issue science-based dietary advice [not to mention contributing to the deaths of millions of Americans]. The USDA has sometimes responded to this conflict by choosing industry over science.”

Here’s an idea: why not “have a health agency give health advice?”

Why is the agriculture department the lead agency on formulating dietary recommendations? Why not the CDC, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention? “Just as many other nations do, the United States could put an appropriate health agency in charge of dietary advice.”

What about countries that do actually have health professionals in charge? What are their recommendations like? Take the dietary guidelines in Greece. I’m not saying they’re not without bias, but at least they were put together by the Ministry of Health and Welfare; what a concept.

This is what our guidelines could say: “Prefer fruits and nuts as snacks, instead of sweets and candy bars.” Radical! “Always prefer water over soft drinks.” The USDA could never get away with saying something like that.

Here’s their food pyramid. First thing I noticed: non-refined grains. No pussyfooting around. Not “choose carbohydrates wisely.” Whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, whole grains, period. And these guidelines were released back in 1999, when U.S. guidelines didn’t make any distinction between whole and refined grains at all. And our guidelines still condone half of grain intake as refined grains. Why? There’s no science to support that; it’s just a big gift to the processed and junk food industry.

What else? Avoid salt. Good strong message; replace with herbs. Nice. Nine servings of fruits and vegetables every day—including wild greens. I’m impressed.

Probably the most important thing about these guidelines is that the daily diet is vegetarian. A few times a week, if you want, according to the guidelines, you can have white meat and, at most, three times a week, eggs or candy. And the rest of meat is monthly. One serving a week—that’s like 25 times less meat than what the current USDA guidelines allow.

And of course, obligatory woman in a bathing suit, because of course that’s what women wear when they go jogging.

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 ozmafan via Flickr

Nota del Doctor

Be sure to check out all my other videos on dietary guidelines and industry influence. And be sure not to miss my associated blog post: Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board accused of making illegally deceptive claims

For more context, also check out my associated blog posts: Dietary Guideline Graphics: From the Food Pyramid to My Plate, Harvard’s Healthy Eating Plate, and PCRM’s Power Plate; and Schoolchildren Should Drink More Water.

If you haven’t yet, you can subscribe to my videos for free by clicking here.

Comment Etiquette

On NutritionFacts.org, you'll find a vibrant community of nutrition enthusiasts, health professionals, and many knowledgeable users seeking to discover the healthiest diet to eat for themselves and their families. As always, our goal is to foster conversations that are insightful, engaging, and most of all, helpful – from the nutrition beginners to the experts in our community.

To do this we need your help, so here are some basic guidelines to get you started.

The Short List

To help maintain and foster a welcoming atmosphere in our comments, please refrain from rude comments, name-calling, and responding to posts that break the rules (see our full Community Guidelines for more details). We will remove any posts in violation of our rules when we see it, which will, unfortunately, include any nicer comments that may have been made in response.

Be respectful and help out our staff and volunteer health supporters by actively not replying to comments that are breaking the rules. Instead, please flag or report them by submitting a ticket to our help desk. NutritionFacts.org is made up of an incredible staff and many dedicated volunteers that work hard to ensure that the comments section runs smoothly and we spend a great deal of time reading comments from our community members.

Have a correction or suggestion for video or blog? Please contact us to let us know. Submitting a correction this way will result in a quicker fix than commenting on a thread with a suggestion or correction.

View the Full Community Guidelines

Deja una respuesta

Tu correo electrónico no se publicará Los campos obligatorios están marcados *

Pin It en Pinterest

Share This