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 (http://www.iom.edu/?id=54342)
• 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:
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. (http://www.crnusa.org/TheWorkshop/Bios.html)
(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
Source: WFM Blog – 2