New Dietary Guidelines Released – Financial Power of Agribusiness Wins Again

Hello again my friends!

As I write to you I am still awaiting the arrival of my new Chromebook. My current one is on the fritz – the keyboard has stopped working, and it spazzed out and deleted half of the photos from my SD card. Which means that post I had planned to share my charcuterie table and Christmas dinner – gone! My touchscreen still works, but I have to plug in the keyboard from my desktop to type, which is how I am writing this to you now. My new Chromebook was expected to arrive yesterday, but it (as with most packages shipped via USPS) has been delayed.

Once it arrives and I can again safely upload photos, I will be resuming a regular blog schedule. It will be altered slightly, however. My plan is to publish a weekly blog post on Sundays, and a weekly nutrition topic post on Thursdays. Recipe posts will not have a scheduled day, as I am finding myself trying more of other people’s recipes than creating my own these days, so I will share those as I create them. Also – if you are not following Beetitudes on Instagram, please hop over there and give the page a follow. I created a new account just for the blog, separate from my coaching account, and am sharing meals, nutritional information, and daily living stories over there.

And now for the topic of the week! Every five years the USDA releases new dietary guidelines, and 2020 was the year. In the final Hail Mary pass of 2020, they released guidelines that are still in favor of industry over human health. This article title from the Wisconsin State Farmer says it all:

While there have been some (very) minor positive changes, overall not much has improved and science has largely been ignored. For example, despite findings in July that added sugars and alcohol needed to be further limited from current recommendations before being deemed safe, the new guidelines on added sugar and alcohol remain the same. The recommendation is to adjust alcohol limits from two drinks per day for men, down to one; and for women to reduce to less than one drink per day. In reality, no alcohol is good for us aside from a small amount of red wine, and even that is unnecessary because the component of wine that is good for gut and health – resveratrol – comes from grapes. Which means we can skip the alcohol and just eat grapes.

Also on the guidelines, unchanged from years past, is limiting saturated fat to 10% or less of calories per day. What remains missing is clarity on what foods contain saturated fat. The largest sources of saturated fat in the standard American diet are oil and dairy, followed closely by meat. Oil is 100% fat, while butter and cheese are 70-80% fat. Meats range from about 20-25% fat. Even that “low fat” 2% milk is actually 35% fat – they’re allowed to manipulate us by measuring volume instead of actual percentage of calories from fat. All to make us think milk is a healthy, low fat product, when in fact it is high in fat and cholesterol, and has a direct causal link to breast and prostate cancers.

In fact, the guidelines directly contradict themselves by recommending we limit fat on one hand, while on the other pushing us to consume three servings of dairy per day. Despite scientific recommendations to stop promoting dairy by committees tasked with advising the USDA dietary guidelines, the guidelines remain unchanged.

Another thing that remains unchanged since the 2015 release, is meat. In 2015 the category was changed from meat, to protein. However, what constitutes protein is again left up to the consumer to figure out – and in a nation where protein is synonymous with meat, the assumption will thus be made that protein group = meat group. Again, this despite the fact that the recommendation for saturated fat is 10% or less of total calories. The healthiest source of protein is and always will be plants – and all plants contain protein. As long as we are eating sufficient calories, we are getting sufficient protein. The highest and healthiest sources of protein are legumes which, unlike meat, contain no fat, no cholesterol, and no risk for colon cancer.

In a year of unprecedented illness with the pandemic making tsunami-level waves across the world, human health has never been more important. The USDA had the opportunity to leave a strong and noticeable impact on American health for the future, but instead they’ve chosen to stand in place with business as usual – ignoring science, ignoring committee recommendations, and catering instead to industry. What they’ve delivered, to quote Registered Dietician Susan Levin from PCRM, is “just kind of a lot of fluff, and no substance.”

As long as we continue having the same government agency responsible for promoting the ag industry also writing our dietary guidelines, it is doubtful that we will ever see guidelines that do not pander to industry while ignoring human health. As a result we can expect cancer, chronic disease, and the ongoing obesity epidemic to persist, and likely worsen. As a domino effect, we will also continue to see health care quality decline while costs of services and prescription drugs increase.

We have the power to change it all, because we are at the root of our health crisis. It has been demonstrated time and again that the strongly-biased USDA will not act responsibly for the people, so it is up to us to educate ourselves and to share honest, science-supported information with those around us. We have the ability to take our health back into our own hands, eliminating the need for “health”care and daily prescription drugs. We can fix the broken system by first fixing ourselves, but the real information must get out before this can happen.

If we want dietary guidelines that we can trust and depend on, let us look north to Canada. While they have not called to fully eliminate meat and dairy, they have removed dairy as a category in their guidelines completely, and highlight legumes, nuts and seeds more than animal sources for protein. This is a photo of the guidelines for Canada compared to America. If Americans were to adopt the Canadian plate, we would start to move in a positive, much healthier direction.

To stay up-to-date with real, science-backed nutritional guidelines, please subscribe to this blog and be sure to check out Beetitudes on Instagram. You can also follow my nutrition coaching page on Instagram too, Planted Coaching.

Have a happy and healthy evening, and I will see you back here on Sunday for my weekly blog!


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