February 2016    
<< Home   Printer Friendly PDF Volume 15 Issue 2

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Are Intended to Confuse the Public and the Press


The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) every five years (since 1980). The guidelines affect food labels; medical research grants; school lunch menus, which feed more than 30 million children each school day; the Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), which informs the diets of eight million people; and most other public nutrition programs and nutritional decisions. Thus the Guidelines play a major role in determining the foods America produces, buys, and eats, as well as influences the rest of the world.


Unfortunately, the USDA in particular is also compelled to enhance the welfare of "agribusinesses" (the producers of meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, fish, and more). One of the most effective methods used to protect industries' financial interests, over the health of the public, has been to produce a difficult-to-read, contradictory, biased, confusing, and intellectually dishonest document: the 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (eight edition).

Summary of the 2015 – 2020
Dietary Guidelines for Americans Recommendations
  • A Healthy Eating Pattern Includes: A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains

(The Dietary Guidelines should have stopped here, but continued with:)

  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils


Corrupting Language Used Throughout


In 1946, George Orwell wrote the essay Politics and the English Language, describing the power of language, "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." The words chosen for the Guidelines corrupt the thoughts of lay, media, and professional readers. When the Guidelines suggest Americans eat more healthy foods, like grains, vegetables, and fruits they recommend the actual foods (beans, corn, potatoes and rice, etc.). Thus the consumer can identify what should be on their plate.

However, when they recognize harmful characteristics of foods, such as those found in beef, pork, chicken, eggs, dairy, and fish products, they usually do not identify the actual foods, rather they suggest the American consumers limit their intake of specific components of the food, such as cholesterol, protein, saturated fat, sodium, and sugar. Few people know that cholesterol, protein, and saturated fat are synonymous with beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and cheese. In everyday life no one thinks, "I will not order a highly saturated fat, cholesterol-laden item from my fast food restaurant today for lunch because I do not want a stroke" or "I want to have healthy bones, so no 'protein foods' for dinner tonight."


By recommending a reduction of "protein" (as you will read later on) they also condemn healthy protein-rich foods such as beans, peas, and lentils. However, the scientific research that incriminates "protein" as the cause of cancer, heart disease, type-2 diabetes, and osteoporosis is exclusively limited to animal food sources. Legumes, which are classified as protein by the Guidelines, and used in the same sentence with animal foods, have the opposite effects on health.


Recommending, "eat starch" is entirely missing in the Dietary Guidelines even though all large populations of trim, healthy, athletic-competing, war-fighting people throughout verifiable human history have obtained the bulk of their calories from starches. Examples of thriving populations include the Japanese, Chinese, and other Asians, who eat sweet potatoes, buckwheat, and/or rice; Incas in South America who eat potatoes; Mayans and Aztecs in Central America who eat corn; and Egyptians in the Middle East who eat wheat and barley. Why did the Dietary Guidelines fail to prominently recommend eating starch? Because those foods would fill our stomachs, leaving less room for meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs, the current focus of the American diet and the reason that agribusiness is thriving.


The root word "starch" is not used in the Guidelines in any positive way that would cause people to choose these traditional foods that have kept billions of people trim and free of diabetes, heart disease, and breast, prostate, and colon cancers for hundreds of thousands of years. Any reference to starch in the Guidelines would not lead consumers to choose these essential foods. The guidelines write about "refined starches" (negative) and "starchy vegetables" (again, a negative tone for most readers).


Use of Misleading Common Denominators


The only meaningful way to compare foods is to use percent of calories (from protein, fat, and carbohydrate) or nutrients per 100 calories (such as mg of vitamin C per 100 calories). A person consumes a diet based on calories; such as he/she would eat 2000 calories a day. People do not eat based on the weight of foods, such as a 4.4 pound (2 kilogram) diet a day. Calories consumed, not weight, mostly governs the hunger drive. Using percentages translates easily to various intakes: 1000, 2000, 3000, etc. calorie diets. The Guidelines use the weight of food (grams) per serving, or per day, thus not allowing a simple way for consumers, the media, or professionals to understand the impact of the consumption of a single or combination of foods. It is all so confusing!


Using Percent Calories Is Easy and Meaningful
  Item % Protein % Fat % Carbohydrate  
  Almonds 10 80 10  


8 4 88  
  Avocados 5 85 10  
  Bacon 5 95 0  
  Beans 26 4 70  
  Beef 34 66 0  
  Chicken 72 15 0  
  Corn 12 8 80  
  Egg 33 65 2  
  Kale 45 15 40  
  Milk 21 49 30  
  Pork 21 79 0  
  Potato 10 1 89  
  Rice 8 5 85  
  Tuna 34 66 0  


Thus the Guidelines might as well be written in Mandarin Chinese to English-only speaking Americans when they report the nutritional importance of foods based on meaningless denominators (grams, days, servings, etc.).

Confusing Contradictions Throughout


There are exceptions to the use of corrupt language in some places in the Guidelines, such as the statement on page 76 that "Some individuals, especially teen boys and adult men, also need to reduce overall intake of protein foods by decreasing intakes of meats, poultry, and eggs and increasing amounts of vegetables or other underconsumed food groups." ("Underconsumed food groups," to be specific, would be beans, corn, potatoes, and rice – why not just say so?) Thus in a few cases the media was able to understand and communicate the harms to the public of eating meats, poultry, and eggs. Otherwise, the harms caused by consuming animal foods and vegetable oils were largely missed, and the public remains uninformed and thus unable to take action to save their lives.


However, not to fail with their obligations to industries, the Dietary Guidelines writes on page 42: "As discussed in Chapter 2, average intakes of meats, poultry, and eggs for teen boys and adult men are above recommendations in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern. For those who eat animal products, the recommendation for the protein foods subgroup of meats, poultry, and eggs can be met by consuming a variety of lean meats, lean poultry, and eggs. No mention is made of truly necessary and effective dietary changes for teens and adult men to starch-based diets with green and yellow vegetables and fruits.


If protein is so important, and animal sources of protein are so deadly, then why not simply recommend legumes as a high source? Or admit that all starches and vegetables are loaded with protein and protein deficiency does not occur in humans on any natural diet? No such cases have ever been reported to occur. Ever! Taxpayers should expect the Guidelines to tell the truth by using clear language presented in an understandable, consistent manner.


Contradictory Recommendations on Dairy

This chart pictures "Dietary Intakes Compared to Recommendations." Note the inconsistency concerning dairy products. They are listed as the foods that the greatest percent of the population (approximately 90%) is not consuming enough of. Yet when showing nutrients in this same chart, the components of dairy foods are listed as the ones highest above recommendations. Ice cream, yogurt, and skim milk contain half of their calories from simple sugar. Cheese is among the foods with the highest concentrations of sodium for U.S. consumers (400 mg/100 calories). And dairy foods (cheese, whole milk, etc.) provide concentrations of saturated fats comparable to red meat, chicken, and eggs; about 50% of the calories.





The Guidelines Are User Unfriendly


The Guidelines report is presented online in an unfriendly way, requiring viewers to click through numerous screens, drop-down boxes, and hyperlinks; a workload few people have the time and patience to perform. Thus, the Guidelines are difficult, if not impossible, to search. Fortunately an unofficial but searchable PDF format is available.


(Because of the difficulty of searching through this government document, I have made the page references in this newsletter to the unofficial PDF format from Slow Food Fast.


I agree strongly with reduction of simple sugars advocated in the Dietary Guidelines. No one should be drinking 10 cans of sugar-laden soda daily. The McDougall Diet does use a small amount of simple sugar for flavoring. Furthermore, my Diet uses a little salt for flavor, but I also believe that small amounts of added sodium have health benefits. Both flavorings are placed on the surface of foods to enhance the enjoyment of the starch-based meal plan that I recommend while at the same time avoiding much larger amounts of sugar and sodium that would have had the same degree of taste if these ingredients were mixed into the recipes.


Specific Concerns about the Guidelines


These comments of mine are from the section: "A Closer Look Inside Healthy Eating Patterns" (Chapter 2 of the Dietary Guidelines 2015 to 2020). Here are some of my concerns about what Americans are reading from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA):


Legumes Compared to Animal Foods

  • DGA: Legumes are excellent sources of protein. In addition, they provide other nutrients that also are found in seafood, meats, and poultry, such as iron and zinc. They are excellent sources of dietary fiber and of nutrients, such as potassium and folate that also are found in other vegetables. (Page 36)
  • Why Not Mention? Legumes and "seafood, meats, and poultry" are completely different classes of foods and should never be compared, even though both have similar amounts of protein. This would be as meaningful as comparing chicken and apples because they both have "skins." Animal foods are loaded with cholesterol and artery-clogging saturated fat, and have no dietary fiber or energy-giving carbohydrates. Animal foods have serious deficiencies of nutrients, such as vitamin C, potassium, calcium (meat), iron (dairy) and folate (folic acid). Legumes are chock-full of these essential nutrients, as well as thousands of other health-enhancing phytonutrients (plant-derived nutrients). Animal foods are loaded with chemical contaminates (poisons from the environment) and infectious, disease-causing microbes (E. coli, salmonella, Listeria, Mad cow, leukemia viruses, etc.). Animal protein vs. vegetable protein shows much greater adverse effects of animal sources, considering the protein alone, on cholesterol, heart disease, cancer, osteoporosis, liver, and kidney disease. Thus, comparing proteins from plant and animal sources is scientifically dishonest.

Benefits of Dairy

  • DGA: The dairy group contributes many nutrients, including calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin D (the products are fortified with vitamin D), riboflavin, vitamin B12, protein, potassium, zinc, choline, magnesium, and selenium. (Page 40)
  • Why Not Mention? Vitamin D added as a supplement (as it is with all dairy foods) increases the risk of falls and fractures. Dairy protein is the number one cause of food allergies and autoimmune diseases. Animal proteins and their associated acid loads are the primary cause of osteoporosis and kidney stones. Hard cheeses provide the largest acid load of all commonly consumed foods (15 times more acid than from potatoes, which are alkaline). Lactose (milk sugar) makes more than half of the world's population sick (lactose intolerance). Half of the calories from whole milk are from fat (97% saturated). Dairy provides no iron and is a cause of anemia. Dairy is high in cholesterol (a risk factor for heart attacks and strokes) and promotes prostate cancer, at least. Trans-fats are naturally found in dairy foods. Dairy is filthy with chemicals and microbes.

Benefits of Protein

  • DGA: Protein foods are important sources of nutrients in addition to protein, including B vitamins (e.g., niacin, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, and riboflavin), selenium, choline, phosphorus, zinc, copper, vitamin D, and vitamin E. (Page 41)
  • Why Not Mention? Physicians in the U.S. never see diseases from deficiencies of the nutrients mentioned above (except maybe B12; fewer than one in a million) in their patients. Meats are completely deficient in vitamin C, folate, dietary fiber, calcium, and carbohydrates. Physicians are seeing, however, that more than 80% of their patients are suffering from diseases caused by consuming excess calories, fat, cholesterol, animal protein, sodium, and sugar. The DGA focuses on selling nutrients because its obligation is to increase sales for the foods, albeit unhealthy ones, for the food industries. Maybe the USDA should go so far as to ask for additional financing from pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, and physicians because of the secondary benefits provided by making Americans sick?

Benefits of Fish

  • DGA: …EPA and DHA is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without preexisting CVD (cardiovascular disease)…DHA is associated with improved infant health outcomes…Mercury is a heavy metal found in the form of methyl mercury in seafood in varying levels. (Page 41)
  • Why Not Mention? That 90% of the methyl mercury in a person's body comes from fish. Methyl mercury causes brain damage, and infants are particularly at risk. Fish are high in fat (obesity) and high in protein (osteoporosis). Fish fats enhance bleeding and impairs the immune system (more cancer and infections). Plant foods are the original source of all essential fatty acids; animals cannot make omega-3 (ALA) or omega-6 fats. People also sufficiently convert (ALA), the plant-formed essential fatty acid, into the elongated fatty acids EPA and DHA.

Admission of Guilt

  • DGA: Strong evidence from mostly prospective cohort studies but also randomized controlled trials has shown that eating patterns that include lower intake of meats as well as processed meats and processed poultry are associated with reduced risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease) in adults. Moderate evidence indicates that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer in adults. (Page 42)
  • Why Not Mention? Furthermore, meats are high in fat (obesity), high in protein (osteoporosis), contaminated, and severely deficient in nutrients. Plus, they profoundly harm the environment and the cruelty of factory farming is unbearable to watch, for even desperate people following the Atkins Diet. While draft recommendations of the DGA had suggested all Americans adopt more environmentally sustainable eating habits by cutting back on meat, that advice was dropped from the final Guidelines. Livestock production is responsible for more 51% of the greenhouse gasses and irreversible damage to all ecosystems.

Benefits of Oil

  • DGA: Oils provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E. (Page 43)
  • DGA: Individuals should aim to shift food choices from those high in saturated fats to those high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. (Page 81)
  • Why Not Mention? Oils are the most concentrated source of calories, leading to obesity. (Nine calories per gram vs. one calorie per gram for common starches: corn, potatoes, rice, etc.) "The fat you eat is the fat you wear" regardless of the degree of saturation. Oils promote cancer more than any other natural components of foods. They cause greasy skin and hair, eventually resulting in acne for many. Many oils also promote coronary artery heart disease (omega-6 linoleic acid).

Thoughts on Cholesterol

  • DGA: The Key Recommendation from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines to limit consumption of dietary cholesterol to 300 mg per day is not included in the 2015 edition, but this change does not suggest that dietary cholesterol is no longer important to consider when building healthy eating patterns. As recommended by the IOM (Institute of Medicine), individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern. (Page 53)
  • DGA: Strong evidence from mostly prospective cohort studies but also randomized controlled trials has shown that eating patterns that include lower intake of dietary cholesterol are associated with reduced risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease), and moderate evidence indicates that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity. (Page 52)
  • Why Not Mention? Only animal foods contain significant amounts of cholesterol. Therefore in order to comply with the IOM recommendation to "eat as little cholesterol as possible," Americans should all be following the McDougall Diet.

Cash Is King and Almost Everyone Is Paid Off


The American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics all offer praise for the latest Dietary Guidelines as a step forward. However, almost all of their members eat the dangerous American Diet themselves and, therefore, cannot see beyond their own dinner plates. Plus, the food industries provide basic and ongoing education for almost all professional organizations, and all of your personal physicians and dietitians (whether they listen or not).


But not everyone is sold (bought). The American Cancer Society is not, stating, "The 2015 Dietary Guidelines…do not acknowledge the totality of evidence available to make recommendations intended to reduce consumption of foods known to cause cancer. The science on the link between cancer and diet is extensive. By omitting specific diet recommendations, such as eating less red and processed meat, these guidelines miss a critical and significant opportunity to reduce suffering and death from cancer."


You can read my thoughts on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and see that in five years agribusinesses still are winning. I believe we have not made a significant step forward with this eighth edition of the Guidelines. But, there is hope that before five years from now (2020) I will be writing a newsletter about the Dietary Guidelines raising themselves to a new standard of awareness and honesty, and loyalty to the American people. Life is changing along with our ability to communicate widely through the Internet. The cheaters, liars, and polluters will soon no longer be able to hide. And the world will be ours to save.

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