2010 Dietary Guidelines Touted As Iron-Clad, But Totally Ignored Low-Carb Science
Posted Jan 31 2011 6:36pm
After waiting with bated breath for the past two years, Americans can now breathe a collective sigh of relief today since The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) along with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) came down from the proverbial mountaintop with the holy grail of all nutritional recommendations with the better-late-than-never 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that is designed “For A Healthier Life.” This $500,000 investment into creating what is billed as the most up-to-date nutritional policy in the United States (with heavy influence on how the world views a healthy diet) was originally schedule to be released to the public in December 2010, but for some mysterious reason they decided to hold off until early 2011. Whatever! This is the first update to the Dietary Guidelines since 2005 and they might as well have not even bothered since nothing much changed to improve upon what has pretty much been in place for two decades–all the while obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease has been on a sharp incline.
All the usual suspects showed up in the 2010 report that shouldn’t surprise anyone:
- Create a calorie balance by paying attention to “calories in, calories out”
- Lower consumption of sodium, solid fats (major sources of saturated fats and trans fats), cholesterol, added sugars, refined grains, and for some Americans, alcohol
- Increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products (dairy products), protein foods, including seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds, and vegetable oils
- Raise the amount of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors
- Consume less than 10 percent saturated fat and replace them with monounsaturated fats
- Eat less than 300mg daily of dietary cholesterol
- No more than 2,300mg sodium daily and less than 1,500 for people 51+
- Up to two alcoholic drinks daily for men and one daily for women
Blah blah blah…yadda yadda yadda…and a partridge in a pear tree! Did we REALLY expect to see anything different than this as I predicted last summer ? Maybe we held out SOME hope that they’d listen to us talking about the growing body of evidence in support of carbohydrate-restriction after a group of low-carb researchers and activists testified before the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee in July 2010 , including my own personal plea with the Committee to seriously consider low-carb nutrition lest nothing changes over the next five years (incidentally, they had promised to post a transcript of the oral testimony here shortly afterwards but it has never happened–gee, I wonder why?!). But during the online media press conference this morning, there was a question and answer session about the new Dietary Guidelines. There were a lot of softball questions about clarification on what the Dietary Guidelines were saying and some praise from various people who were speaking. But then towards the end, there was a question posed that made me perk up because it was about why low-carb diets weren’t given any consideration in the final report in light of all the evidence that has been published in major medical journals since the 2005 Dietary Guidelines were made public. It was asked by a spokesman for The Nutrition & Metabolism Society and you’re not gonna believe the answer he gave. I put together this YouTube video to illustrate the absurdity of this USDA minion’s answer:
Did you catch that? He immediately admitted, “We did receive an awful lot of public input on the issue of carbohydrates and the amount to be consumed or perhaps to be concerned with.” You bet your sweet bippy you did. From top researchers to involved laypeople like myself, the USDA was inundated with both anecdotal and scientific evidence supporting the veracity of low-carb diets for people desiring improved health and proper weight management. They were exposed to many of those studies I included in my video above…and yet this “Idiot Of The Year” nominee claims “the evidence is just not there.” Can you believe he stood there and said this with a straight face?! The saddest part of this is they promoted these new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as above reproach featuring all the best experts on nutrition who cannot be questioned in the least. You and I know this is simply not true since not a single member of the expert Committee has done research on low-carb diets . Throughout this process the members of the Committee ignored the low-carb elephant in the room and that continued even to this day when they made their big announcement about it. Such a crying shame that the general public is being bamboozled yet again and the implications on their weight and health will continue to reverberate over at least the next five years short of some intervention from a counter-message (like what I share here at “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb”).
Now some of you are probably thinking, “Jimmy, what’s the big deal about these silly Dietary Guidelines? Nobody ever pays attention to them anyway, so it’s no harm, no foul.” If that’s how you feel, then I invite you to take a look at all the government programs that “rely on and plan for” these Dietary Guidelines to be the template for creating “healthy” meals for tens of millions of Americans to consume:
- SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)
- Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
- National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
- Nutrition Facts Labeling
- Food education programs and campaigns
- USDA Food Plans (Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost, and Liberal) used for SNAP allotments
- Food allowances for the U.S. military
- Setting child support and foster care guidelines
- MyPyramid educational materials, online diet assessment and planning tools for consumers
- The Healthy Eating Index to measure the diet quality of the U.S. population
- Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), use the Dietary Guidelines to guide decisions on food purchasing, create research grant opportunities, analyses of food consumption survey data, and monitor other national initiatives.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implements Fruits & Veggies — More Matters as a program that provides substantial resources for consumers based on the Dietary Guidelines and also updates the Healthy Weight web site in English and Spanish
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses for Front of Pack and other nutrition labeling initiatives.
- National Institutes of Health (NIH) produces many consumer initiatives to promote healthy eating and physical activity principles of the Dietary Guidelines (e.g., WECAN!, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Eating Plan, NICHD’s Media-Smart Youth materials).
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) implements Healthy People 2020, which includes a section on nutrition and weight status which provides a mechanism to measure the Nation’s progress toward implementing the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines
- The Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Indian Health Service (IHS), and Office on Women’s Health (OWH), have nutrition and health education programs geared toward specific population groups based on the Dietary Guidelines, such as the Older Americans Nutrition Program and Head Start (ACF).
As you can see, these 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have far-reaching implications into the daily life of just about everyone in the United States which is why what is included in them is so important. And let’s not forget about organizations like the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and other health-related groups who cite the Dietary Guidelines as their evidence for a low-fat, high-carb diet for health. It’s disgusting in the worst way to think people believe this stuff because they trust the information they’re being given at face value without questioning whether it’s true or not. Most people don’t have the time to investigate the claims and simply believe them to be true. Then they wonder why their weight and health continues to flail despite doing everything right.
It’s a recipe for failure that has worked like a charm for so long that I’m beginning to wonder if people are finally catching on to the ruse. I sure hope so because there needs to be some major changes happen between now and 2015 when the next update to the Dietary Guidelines is examined. We’re gonna be doing our part to communicate the science supporting carbohydrate-restriction with as many people as possible so the USDA can’t keep pulling this smoke and mirrors act on us without serious consequences. What we need now more than ever is a serious, all-inclusive public commission to examine low-carb nutrition so we can judge the merits of this way of eating on weight and health. The evidence that is swelling in the scientific community in support of carbohydrate-restricted nutrition shows no signs of letting up and I’ll be here to keep sharing about it for many more years to come. One of these days when the tide turns in favor of low-carb (and it IS coming!), you can say you were on the cutting edge of watching it all happen. That day can’t come soon enough!