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The American Heart Association diet guarantees you get heart disease!

Posted Sep 12 2008 8:52am

Perhaps I stated that too strongly.

But the fact remains: the diet advocated by the American Heart Association is awful. The foods endorsed by their approach have no place on a list of healthy foods. Yes, you will find vegetables and fruits, etc.. But you will also find that the 2006 American Heart Association Diet and Lifestyle Recommendations dance around the issue of what foods to avoid. There's no explicit mention of how, for instance, common foods like Shredded Wheat cereal, ketchup, low-fat salad dressings, etc, among thousands of others, should be avoided.

No matter how you time your meals, mix them, combine proteins, fats, and carbohydrates, etc., you simply cannot squeeze health out of products like breakfast cereals, instant mashed potatoes, dried soup mixes, wheat crackers, etc. Yet these are the sorts of foods that are implicitly allowable in the Heart Association's diet program.

You can obtain a little insight into the motivations behind the diet design by looking at the Heart Association's Annual Report list of major supporters:

--ACH Food Companies--maker of Mazola margarine and corn oil. A contributor of between $500,000 and $999,000 to the Heart Association.

--ConAgra Foods--You know them as Chef BoyArdee, Peter Pan peanut butter, Kid Cuisine (pizza, macaroni and cheese). ConAgra contributed between $500,000 and $999,000 to the Heart Association.

--Archer Daniels Midland--Huge worldwide supplier of wheat flours, high-fructose corn syrup, and basic ingredients for manufacture of soft drinks, candies, and baked foods. ADM contributed between $1-4.9 million dollars to the American Heart Association.

Of course, the Heart Association provides many hugely positive services like funding research. But, on many official statements, you need to read between the lines. The Heart Association is funded by industry: medical device makers, drug makers, food manufacturers. Yes, some is contributed in the interest of health. But you can be sure that lots of money is also contributed in the hope of protecting specific commercial interests. Many of those decisions are made behind closed doors or on the golf course.

Be skeptical. Just because the Heart Association diet is a Casper Milquetoast version of a health program, it does not mean that you have to subscribe to their watered-down, politically correct, and downright useless nutrition recommendations.

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