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Dietary Guidelines: Another Huge Crony Sandwich

Dietary Guidelines: Another Huge Crony Sandwich
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Government dietary advice, courtesy of Big Pharma and Big Food.

A new study has found that 19 of 20 members serving on the government’s committee responsible for developing the next round of dietary guidelines for Americans have one or more conflicts of interest with Big Food, Big Ag, or Big Pharma. This helps explain why the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have, for years now, continued to miss the mark on several key health issues that, if followed, would undermine our health.

Such extensive conflicts of interest on the committee mean that special interest in the food and drug industry, which profit from selling us junk food and expensive drugs, have an undue influence on what the committee recommends. Do you want Kraft food, Dannon, or Kellogg telling you what to eat? This is an example of the crony capitalism that makes it impossible for the government to give us good nutrition advice. It has been our position that, rather than telling us what to eat, government at all levels should instead stop gagging free speech about nutrition and natural products.

Here are a few of the key mistakes made by the committee:

  • Saturated fat. For years, the guidelines have recommended lower intakes of saturated fat. This is based on outdated and largely disproven research. Historically the claim has been an alleged link to heart disease. However, more recent evidence shows that saturated fat is not, in fact, linked to heart disease. Rather saturated fat has been proven to have several health benefits, including improved cardiovascular risk factors and liver health, stronger bones, healthy lungs and brain, proper nerve signaling, and a strong immune system. Some saturated fats, such as coconut oil, are considered superfoods.
  • Added sugars. Reports from the committee have recommend that Americans consume less than 6 percent of energy from added sugars, down from 10 percent recommended in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. Why is the government recommending any added sugar at all? Any integrative doctor or nutrition professional worth his or her “salt” will advise patients (in most cases) to strictly limit their sugar intake, and to eliminate added sugar completely—in particular, artificial sweeteners and highly processed forms like high fructose corn syrup. 
  • Red meat.The Dietary Guidelines committee has consistently made recommendations to reduce consumption of red meat—this is misleading due to the significant difference in nutritional content between corn-fed beef raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and grass-fed, pasture-raised beef. Everyone needs iron, although not too much, and beef is one of the best sources.
  • Vitamin D. The committee has noted that vitamin D supplementation may be necessary, though they recommend 600 IU for most people and 800 IU per day for those over 75—nowhere near enough to achieve optimal levels of vitamin D recommended by integrative experts.

The path to better health isn’t more government advice or intervention, but to allow Americans access to all kinds of information about a variety of products and foods, particularly natural options, so we can make our own informed decisions.

Read more about the conflict of interests on the committee here.

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