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    •  8/31/2009 11:47:26 PM

      Referring to my last blog- this committee makes key guidelines that effect our nation’s health.  The Dietary Guidelines are jointly issued and updated every 5 years by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). They provide authoritative advice for people about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. (Again- this is how the Food Guide Pyramid and the School Lunch Programs are established)


      I was so excited to find out that the next Dietary Guidelines will be published in 2010- and the committee has already met 3 times this year to discuss the revision.  We even have access to the meeting notes at:
      The most excited part I found is that WE AS THE PUBLIC can summit comments to the committee for them to take into consideration when revising the guidelines.


      As I read through some of the comments that have been posted- it was very interesting who is leaving comments and what kind they are leaving.  This might not be interesting to everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed looking thru the comments.  I will attempt to summarize my favorites.  I have classified them in two groups- "MY PEOPLE" and THE “bias” MONEY MAKERS:




      John McDougall, MD (was one of the first traditional physicians of the medical "establishment" to assert that adoption of a vegetarian diet can reverse unfavorable medical conditions such as heart disease- he is a best selling author.  Check out his site:
      Summary of his comment:

      So far the dietary guidelines have made no meaningful impact on the health of Americans. Please spend time looking over the benefits of a diet based on the starchy foods that have caused billions of people to be trim, active, young and healthy. For example the Asians on rice, people from rural Mexico on beans and corn, the Peruvians on potatoes, the people from New Guinea on sweet potatoes. Americans are sick because the focus of their diet is not on starch, but instead on meat and dairy products and refined foods. Only a serious change in our diet will cause serious change in people's health. I would be happy to share more thoughts on this if you would like.
      John McDougall, MD


      Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. (a former internationally known surgeon, researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic- now he helps patients reverse heart disease through a plant-based whole foods diet
      Summary of his comment:
      Evidence based research and epidemiological studies leave no doubt that the epidemic of cardiovascular disease results from consuming the typical Western diet of processed oils, dairy, meat, sugar and processed flour.  Furthermore patients with severe coronary artery disease have been able to halt and reverse the disease when eliminating these products from their nutrition. Science of the 21st century clearly refutes the health claims of the present food pyramid.
      Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr


      Dr. Hans Diehl (is Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Institute of Loma Linda, California. His pioneering efforts have shown conclusively that many of today's diseases are truly reversible through some simple lifestyle changes
      Summary of his comment:
      In harmony with the Cancer Guidelines issues by the World Cancer Research Fund and the work done by Neal Barnard, (Reversing Diabetes) T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and Caldwell Esselstyn (Clevelandclinic on Reversing CHD) and in view of ecological consideration, would it not be wise to take another and more serious look at the advantages of a more plant-food centered low fat diet diet high in vegetables, fruits and legumes? Many of us in the field of epidemiology view the scientific evidence as rather compelling.
      Dr. Hans Diehl


      Neal Barnard, M.D. (one of America’s leading advocates for health, nutrition, and higher standards in research. As the principal investigator of several human clinical research trials, whose results are published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, Dr. Barnard has examined key issues in health and nutrition.
      Neal Barnard is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Dr. Barnard is also president of The Cancer Project, a nonprofit organization advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research.
      Summary of his comment:
      It is essential that the Dietary Guidelines address Americans as they are. That is, most Americans are overweight, the vast majority have the beginnings of atherosclerosis, if not fully developed cardiovascular disease, and many have other diet-related health problems, such as hypertension or diabetes. It is a mistake to draft Guidelines as if Americans are healthy and trim. More and more research shows that low-fat, plant-based diets are most effective for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases that plague our nation. In light of recent publications highlighting the benefits of low-fat vegetarian and vegan diets, I think that a critically important question in need of an Evidence-based Review by this esteemed committee is, ?What role can low-fat vegetarian and vegan diets play in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, particularly obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer??
      Thank you,
      Neal Barnard, M.D.


      It is so exciting to see MY PEOPLE” make these wonderful comments.  There is a good amount of them, which is promising…but there is also a good amount of OTHER comments.  Some made me laugh…and others made me mad.  Again- it’s all about the money


      The “Bias” MONEY MAKERS


      Some examples:


      The Salt Institute wrote a letter stated why the guidelines need to increase the maximum amount of daily SALT recommended to Americans.

      The Corn Refiners Association explained the benefits of corn.

      The National Fisheries Institute wants the committee to recommend more Fish. 


      This all makes sense- these “associations” are of course linked to INDUSTRY.  And the industries can benefit highly from the recommendations of this committee.


      What I like to think about, is all of "MY PEOPLE" don't make a dime if you eat more broccoli and stay away from disease promoting food.  They are totally non-bias physicians, researchers, scientists that want what's best for our nation.  I don't know about you...but I trust them more than I do the INDUSTRY associations.


      Not so sure where this comment fits into my categories- but I thought it was interesting:


      The School Nutritional Association:
      Their letter basically requested that the Guidelines Committee should be practical and makes things achievable for the school meal program.  They state that the meals they serve need to be attractive to the national student body.  If they don’t serve an acceptable meal, the students will bring their own.  They state that higher standards in food will drive up the cost.
      I guess I can see where they are coming from- the current federal reimbursement rate is $2.57 per meal…and most schools trying to keep within these rates- are still loosing money every year.  I guess the schools don’t want higher standards and they want to make sure to offer appealing food.

      I don’t know about you…but I was hoping our schools would want to offer the BEST nutrition out there- but again, MONEY is involved.


      PLEASE go to the Dietary Guideline Committee and make a comment:


      For more of The “Bias” MONEY MAKERS…check out my next blog.

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    • Government and Nutrition

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    •  8/25/2009 6:21:23 PM
    • As I have researched nutrition over the past 5 years, I have found loads of scientific information that gives evidence that most chronic diseases in this country are linked to bad nutrition.  Expert government panels have said it and the surgeon general has said it. “More people die because of the way they eat than by tobacco use, accidents or any other lifestyle or environmental factor” (T. Colin Campbell)

      So shouldn’t the government be promoting better nutrition?


      According to the scientific research and epidemiological studies on nutrition- our government should be telling us to eat less animal products, less highly-refined plant products and more WHOLE, plant-based products.  Countries that eat more WHOLE FOODS and less animal and processed foods have far less incidence of disease.  The government should make it very clear, as it did with cigarettes.  Cigarettes KILL, and so do these bad foods.


      But instead, the government is saying that animal products, diary and meat, refined sugar and fat in your diet is good for you!


      After reading The China Study, Eat to Live and many other nutrition books, I came to understand a little about how and why government is turning a blind eye to the evidence.


      There is a group put together by our government called “The Food and Nutrition Board” (FNB) that has the responsibility every five years or so to review and update the recommended consumption of individual nutrients.  They basically make our nations nutrient recommendations.  There is also a group called “The Dietary Guidelines Committee” who with the FNB have a big affect on our countries nutrition policies.  These groups and their recommendations give the basis for:

      • Nutrition labeling of foods
      • The Food Guide Pyramid
      • The WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program
      • The Child Nutrition Programs (such as School Lunch)


      The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB)
      Let’s examine the most recent FNB report published in 2002 and reviewed again in 2005, when no changes were made (


      • Adults should get 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20 percent to 35 percent from fat, and 10 to 35 percent from protein. Acceptable ranges for children are similar to those for adults, except that infants and younger children need a slightly higher proportion of fat (25 -40 percent).
      • Added sugars should comprise no more than 25 percent of total calories consumed. Added sugars are those incorporated into foods and beverages during production which usually provide insignificant amounts of vitamins, minerals, or other essential nutrients. Major sources include soft drinks, fruit drinks, pastries, candy, and other sweets.


      This FNB report states that eating this way will MINIMIZE RISK FOR CHRONIC DISEASE.


      If you really look at these percents and understand them- you would be shocked by what they are allowing our nation to eat.  To allow up to 35 percent of our calories from protein is not only unhealthy- but dangerous.  We know from the studies and evidence found in The China Study- that increasing dietary protein within the range of about 10-20% is associated with a broad array of health problems, especially when most of the protein is from animal sources.  Also, to say that ¼ of our calories in a day can come from sugar is ridiculous!  Around the exact time this FNB report was published, the WHO (World Health Organization) came out with their sugar recommendation.  They recommend no more than 10% of our calories come from sugar…why can our nation eat more sugar than the rest of the world?  Maybe the same reason why we have the most incidence of diabetes???


      To help us understand what these figures mean, here is a menu plan that follows these guidelines:

      MEAL Foods

      1 cup Fruit Loops

      1 cup Skim milk

      1 package M&M milk Chocolate candies

      Fiber and Vitamin Supplements

      Lunch Grilled cheddar cheeseburger

      3 slices pepperoni pizza

      1 16 oz. soda

      1 serving Archway sugar cookies



      Does this kind of food sound like it would “minimize risk for chronic disease?”


      So why do they have it all wrong?
      Did you know…that the current CHAIRMAN of The Food and Nutrient Board (FNB) is part of the following organizations:


      • Chairman of the Board of the International Life Sciences Institute Research Foundation (which is a front group for about 50 food, supplement and drug companies)
      • A member of the McDonald’s Global Advisory Council
      • A member of the ConAgra Foods Scientific Advisory Board (one of North America’s largest packaged food companies)
      • A member of the Mars, Inc. Scientific Advisory Committee. (

      (WHY does Mars Inc. need a nutrition committee...they sell candy bars?)


      With the Chairman of the FNB having strong ties with these food industries, wouldn’t you say that he has a huge conflict of interest?  All of these food industries benefit from the higher protein and sugar allowances found in the report.  This is just one example- but it is happening in many government policy groups.  In effect; the entire system is essentially under the control of industry.  They have all the influence- they develop consultancies with a few publicly visible figures in academia, who then take leadership in policy positions.



      It makes me angry to know what a huge impact this FNB report has on our nations health- and how it DOES NOT minimize the risk of disease.  My next blog will cover another committee that has huge influence:  The Dietary Guidelines Committee...and how we can help have a voice. Stay tuned

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    • Leading Causes of Death in America

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    •  8/12/2009 10:47:58 PM
    • As you know, I love reading about nutrition.  I love learning and understanding the best way to take care of our bodies.  Along this nutrition journey of mine- I love finding interesting FACTS that make me think…


      The FACTS that I love finding are the ones that I don’t think many people know about…but should!  And if they did know about them- maybe they would start thinking differently.


      I would like to share one of these FACTS with you- one that I find very interesting and thought provoking:


      According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), which is a federal agency in the Department of Health and Human Services, the following were the leading causes of death in America for 2006.

      • Heart disease: 631,636
      • Cancer: 559,888
      • Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
      • Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
      • Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
      • Diabetes: 72,449
      • Alzheimer's disease: 72,432
      • Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
      • Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
      • Septicemia: 34,234


      Another interesting statistic of note can be found in “Is US Health Really the Best in the World?", published in the Journal of the American Medical Association in 2002 and written by Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH. In this paper Dr. Starfield gives the following statistics:

      • 7,000 deaths occur each year due to medication errors in hospitals
      • 12,000 deaths occur each year due to unnecessary surgery
      • 20,000 deaths occur each year due to other hospital errors
      • 80,000 deaths occur each year due to hospital borne infections
      • 106,000 deaths occur each year due to adverse effects to properly prescribed medications


      This equals 225,000 deaths due to what are known as iatrogenic causes.  This would place them as the 3rd leading cause of death - just above cerebrovascular diseases at 137,119 deaths.

      That makes our health care system the third leading cause of death in the United States, behind only cancer and heart disease.


      Isn’t it interesting that the CDC doesn’t apply these deaths to their statistics?  I would like to know why?


      The largest category of deaths (106,000) in this group are the hospitalized patients who die from the “noxious, unintended and undesired effect of a drug” which occurs at normal doses.  These people took their medicine as directed.


      “If nutrition were better understood, and prevention and natural treatments were more accepted in the medical community, we would not be pouring so many toxic, potentially lethal drugs into our bodies at the last stage of disease.  We would not be frantically searching for the new medicine that alleviates the symptoms but often does nothing to address the fundamental causes of our illnesses.  We would not be spending our money developing, patenting and commercializing “magic bullet” drugs that often cause additional health problems.  The current system has not lived up to its promise.  It is time to shift our thinking toward a broader perspective on health, one that includes a proper understanding and use of good nutrition.” (T. Colin Campbell, The China Study)



      This update is in response to the question posted on this blog:


      Very interesting, are those 225,000 deaths within the healthcare system completely independent of the other statistics? Or, for example, would someone dying while taking a heart disease medicine be categorized in both the heart disease and the adverse effects to properly prescribed medications?  A very stunning statistic if the answer is no!


      To try to answer this question I reviewed the NATIONAL VITAL STATISTICS REPORT published by the CDC in April 2009 for the final DATA for 2006 (


      This report gives a ton of information regarding deaths in this country.  Did you know that they have determined my death rate, according to my age and sex, for 113 diseases?  Pretty interesting stuff.


      There were 2,426,264 deaths in American in 2006.  Out of these deaths, 1,855,610 deaths are included in the top death causes of death listed above.  So that gives us 570,654 other deaths.  They have categorized these "other deaths" in about 113 different causes.  Here are some that I found:


      • 31,725 deaths were caused by symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings not elsewhere classified
      • 2,521 deaths were caused by complications of medical and surgical care
      • 38,396 deaths were of persons who died of drug-induced causes in the United States.  This category includes not only deaths from dependent and nondependent use of legal or illegal drugs, but also poisoning from medically prescribed and other drugs.
      • 237,421 deaths were caused by ALL OTHER DISEASES/CAUSES (I guess this is how they classify the people who didn't die of the top 10 causes of death as well as the 113 other causes they specifically identified).


      So I can't say where the CDC has placed the 225,000 deaths caused by our own health care system...but it looks like there is plenty of room for them in the categories above.  It wouldn't surprise me if some of them really are not placed where they should be- but that is just my opinion of course :)

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    • SPINACH does a body good!

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    •  8/12/2009 9:33:35 PM
    • I was driving on the freeway with “Maintenance Mommy” the other day, seeing all of the billboards along the side of the road, and we started talking about how the media affects people’s beliefs in nutrition.  We pretty much came to the conclusion (and this is a conclusion that can be made about most of the issues in the world) IT ALL HAS TO DO WITH MONEY.


      The dairy industry wants to make money just as much as anybody else…so I guess they have the right to use their money to endorse their product in the media.  As we were driving that day, we both thought- wouldn’t it be cool if when we drove on the freeway we saws billboards like this one:



                          SPINACH- it does a body good!


      Why doesn’t the spinach industry advertize as much as the dairy industry?  That’s a good question- and again…I’m sure the answer has to do with MONEY.  Unfortunately, there is probably not enough DEMAND for spinach today, thus not enough money in SPINACH either.


      While we are on the subject of SPINACH and DAIRY PRODUCTS- I can’t help but think back to 2006 when E. coli was found in our bagged spinach, which triggered a nationwide fear of fresh vegetables.


      FACT:  A joint trace back by FDA and the State of California revealed that four spinach fields were the source of the E. coli contamination. The outbreak strain of E. coli O157:H7 was isolated from cattle fields nearby the implicated spinach fields.
      The hardy breed of E. coli, dubbed O157:H7, normally lives by the billions at the rear end of a cow’s gut. But in this case, the bacteria found its way into our spinach- which caused hundreds of people to become ill, 31 people developed severe kidney disease, and three people died.


      I have two questions:
      1.  Is there a reason why our cows have these extremely harmful bacteria in their guts?
      2.  How do these extremely harmful bacteria get into our spinach?


      The answers are very easy to find:


      Cattle are given feed that their bodies are not biologically designed to digest (CORN)
      resulting in new strains of E. coli bacteria, which sicken roughly 73,000 Americans annually. (


      One obvious way E. coli gets into our spinach is through the spreading of animal manure on produce fields.  Also, contaminated runoff from dairies can seep into adjacent fields and in the summer, dust from cattle stalls can drift onto nearby crops. (


      I don’t know about you, but I don’t remember hearing in the news back in 2006 how E. coli got into the spinach…but isn’t it interesting that it came from COWS.  Shouldn’t we be more worried about these animals…then SPINACH?

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