Last week’s (June 23/24, 2015) “Opinion” piece in the Journal of the American Medical Association about the 2015 US Dietary Guidelines lifting the ban on total dietary fat meets my criterion for “damned lies.” The authors applaud the “elimination of dietary cholesterol as a ‘nutrient of concern’…and the absence of an upper limit on total fat consumption” in the updated guidelines. The facts Drs. Mozaffarian and Ludwig provide to support their opinions are flawed and favor the food industries. Meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs are the primary dietary sources of cholesterol and fat for Americans. Vegetable oils are the next largest source of dietary fat. Fat is the “metabolic dollar” stored in the body for future energy needs, crucial for survival during times of food shortages. “The fat you eat is the fat you wear,” regardless of the source. “Good fat,” like olive oil, is no more attractively worn around people’s waistlines than “bad fat” from lard.
Developing nations, such as those in the Far East, provide a timely example of the distortions of truth in this “Opinion” piece. Over 90% of the world’s rice is produced and consumed by people living in the Far East. However, over the past 35 years, as the wealth of people in this part of the world has increased, the consumption of rice per capita has decreased, and the consumption of meat and dairy foods, and vegetable oils has more than doubled. During this time period, the health of people worldwide, and especially in Asia, has deteriorated, with increases in obesity, heart disease, and type-2 diabetes rising to epidemic proportions.
Lying about our dietary needs is inexcusable because our children’s future is at stake. Recommendations encouraging people to eat unlimited amounts of cholesterol (animal foods) are destroying Planet Earth. Livestock production constitutes at least 18% of global warming gasses. Americans need to be eating more beans, corn, potatoes, and rice. Calories from animal sources and vegetable oils should be classified as “toxic” by the USDA, and be regulated by our government, as are tobacco and alcohol.
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