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Remembering Kevin Moore

2010 Dietary Guidelines Announced, Still Carb Heavy And Fat-Phobic

It’s the day we’ve been waiting for ever since the now-infamous 13-member advisory committee of national nutrition and health experts convened on Washington, DC to put together what would become The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 Edition. When Dr. Brian Wansink was appointed by former President George W. Bush to serve as the United States Department of Agriculture’s Director of Nutrition Policy and Promotion in December 2007, many people believed real change was going to happen with the newly-updated nutritional recommendations. Unfortunately, as we learned in my August 2009 podcast interview with Dr. Wansink, his role in this process was mostly ceremonial and the chosen “experts” were pretty much dictated to him by the heads of the government agencies–namely the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health & Human Services (currently those roles are filled by Tom Vilsack and Kathleen Sebelius respectively in the Obama administration). When Bush left office in January 2009, Dr. Wansink’s position and nominal influence went away and now he’s back at Cornell University continuing his work on the “mindless eating” concept.

In the meantime, the committee has met for a total of six times, the final two times in April and again in May 2010. Despite calling for highly-qualified nominees two years ago to serve on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and the names of several prominent low-carb researchers and practitioners were submitted for consideration, there wasn’t even a single name submitted even considered to serve on this important panel. No Dr. Jeff Volek from the University of Connecticut who is arguably the most knowledgeable expert on saturated fat today. No Dr. Richard Feinman from SUNY Downstate who can articulate the biochemical pathway of carbohydrates with the best of them. No Dr. Mary C. Vernon a practitioner who uses carbohydrate-restriction in Lawrence, Kansas and has witnessed some truly extraordinary improvements in her diabetic and obese patients through the use of simple yet effective changes in their diet. All were blacklisted for whatever the reason and their voice of sanity on this prestigious and influential panel of diet and health experts was never even given a fair chance to be heard during these proceedings.

I offered up some daring ideas about who we can influence the panel with the low-carb science last year, but the panel has been too busy dancing all around the issue while completely ignoring the low-carb elephant in the room. Looking forward, we definitely need an all-inclusive commission that looks at ALL of the scientific evidence rather than cherry-picking the ones that match some pre-determined agenda. That certainly seems to be what has happened in the case of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines now available for the world to see for themselves and allegedly debate.

What are some of the key recommendations they are making that concern me the most?

CARBOHYDRATES

Healthy diets are high in carbohydrates. Accepted Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR) for carbohydrates are 45 to 65 percent from carbohydrates. A maximal intake level of 25 percent or less of total energy from added sugars is suggested, based on trends indicating that people with diets at or above this level of added sugars are more likely to have poorer intakes of important essential nutrients. Active Americans should consume diets at the high end of the AMDR range (65%) while Americans on low calorie diets will need to consume diets at the low end of the range (45%). Usually proteins will replace carbohydrate on low calorie diets. Americans should choose fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and cooked dry beans and peas as staples in the diet.

How do they expect people to take them seriously when they make a conclusion stating “healthy diets are high in carbohydrates?” There is no proof that this statement is accurate and I would argue there is ample evidence that just the opposite is true instead. But if you base your recommendations on this misguided notion that in order for a diet to be healthy it needs to contain a high amount of carbohydrates, then of course you’re gonna promote upwards of 65% of your calories need to come from this source! And while they’re patting themselves on the back for limiting “added sugars” to just 25% of calories, what about all of the natural sugar included in fruit and starchy vegetables that is just as detrimental to the body? Sugar is sugar is sugar no matter how you try to rationalize it. Opting for whole grains, beans and the like may cause a slower spike, but there’s still a spike. They’re absolutely clueless about why there is grave concern over carbohydrates.

FATTY ACIDS AND CHOLESTEROL

Dietary fatty acids and cholesterol are major determinants of two major causes of morbidity and mortality in Americans, namely CVD and T2D. The health impacts of dietary fats and cholesterol are mediated through levels of serum lipids, lipoproteins, and other intermediary factors. The consumption of harmful types and amounts of fatty acids and cholesterol has not changed appreciably since 1990. In order to reduce the population’s burden from CVD and T2D, and their risk factors, the preponderance of the evidence indicates beneficial health effects associated with:

1. Limiting saturated fatty acid intake to less than 7 percent of calories, replacing these calories with those from mono- or polyunsaturated fatty acids, rather than carbohydrates. As an interim step toward this less than 7 percent goal, all individuals should immediately consume less than 10 percent of energy as saturated fats.

2. Limiting dietary cholesterol to less than 300 mg per day with further reductions of dietary cholesterol to less than 200 mg per day in persons with or at high risk for CVD or T2D.

3. Avoiding trans fatty acids from industrial sources in the American diet, leaving small amounts from trans fatty acids from natural (ruminant) sources.

4. Redefining cholesterol-raising fats as saturated fats (exclusive of stearic acid) and trans fatty acids, with a recommended daily intake of less than 5 percent of energy.

5. Consuming two servings of seafood per week (4 oz. cooked, edible seafood per serving) which provide an average of 250 mg/day of n-3 fatty acids from marine sources.

6. Ensuring maternal dietary intake of long chain n-3 fatty acids, in particular DHA, during pregnancy and lactation through two or more servings of seafood per week, with emphasis on types of seafood high in n-3 fatty acids and with low methyl mercury content.

Since they haven’t seen any measurable change in fat or cholesterol consumption in 20 years despite previous recommendations to lower them, what is their answer? LOWER IT EVEN MORE?!?! Are these people absolutely idiotic or what? And the panel has met TWICE since Dr. Ronald Krauss released his incredible January 2010 meta-analysis study in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that basically vindicated saturated fat from being a contributor to cardiovascular disease. Why ignore this evidence oh great panel of nutritional wisdom? And how is saturated fat negatively impacting Type 2 diabetes? The last time I checked, fat is passive on diabetes, but carbohydrate drives blood sugar and insulin levels through the roof. If there’s this urgency to cut saturated fat which has not been shown to cause harm to people who consume it to less than 7 percent of calories, then why isn’t there an equal state of concern for slashing carbohydrate intake which has ample evidence it is causing harm to shave down intake of it to less than 20 percent of calories, for example? Am I being unreasonable here? There’s still no good reason provided for reducing intake of saturated fat by the panel and I think it’s because they know there isn’t one.

TOTAL DIET

The totality of evidence documenting a beneficial impact of plant-based, lower-sodium dietary patterns on CVD risk is remarkable. Indeed, several distinct dietary patterns are associated with lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of CVD and total mortality. When explicitly tested, a reduced sodium intake further lowers blood pressure. A common feature of these diets is an emphasis on plant-based foods. Accordingly, fiber intake is high while saturated fat typically low. When total fat intake is high, that is, over 30 percent of calories, the predominant fat is monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fat. Carbohydrate intake is often, but not necessarily high; the predominant forms appear to be complex carbohydrates, often from whole grain products with minimal processing.

We should have seen this coming a mile away with the heavy influence of the vegetarian activists in the United States. But they’re trying to push a plant-based diet on us. We’ve seen it with marketing campaigns in Whole Foods and these new 2010 Dietary Guidelines will simply make these kind of efforts happen more often under the guise of being government-endorsed as “healthy.” And while the panel observed the impact of various dietary approaches, including the DASH, Mediterranean, and Vegetarian diets, where was the high-fat, low-carb diet in this discussion? Why was it so summarily dismissed when this 2007 Stanford study clearly found the Atkins diet best amongst several of those very diets? Again, it seems the Committee was quite selective about the specific research and information they wanted to consider and what they did not. If they were purporting to be unbiased, then that has all been thrown out the window.

Not that I expected anything less, but the panel’s proposed cure for the ever-expanding obesity and disease epidemics is to eat less calories, exercise more upwards of 2 1/2 hours of moderate physical activity weekly, lower sugar, dropping fat consumption (opting for fat-free and low-fat dairy and lean meats on rare occasions), cutting the salt, and eating a more plant-based diet that includes taking in more beans, peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Does anybody else see what’s wrong with these “new” recommendations? That’s right, there’s nothing really NEW about them at all. Isn’t this the exact same basic advice we saw in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines and hasn’t obesity and preventable chronic disease only gotten worse? This isn’t the time for keeping the status quo, we need to shake things up people!

Of course, the obligatory 30-day period for submitting comments or signing up to provide oral testimony directly to the Committee on July 8, 2010 is now underway, but some would argue why even bother? If they’ve made up their minds about this then isn’t it a waste of time to share your thoughts with a brick wall? I used to think it was, but then I realized what would happen if good people like you and me remained silent. We would be emboldening the very people who made these crappy Dietary Guidelines by seeming to affirm that there’s nothing wrong with them. But even if they don’t change a thing, it’s vitally important they hear the displeasure of those of us who have educated ourselves about the impact various kind of food can have on our weight and health. Yes, it’s our anecdotal experience, but it is increasingly backed by the science all the time. So if you have an inkling within you to speak your mind, then either submit your comments online or plan to be in Washington, DC on Thursday, July 8, 2010 to share your oral testimony. Call Crystal Tyler at (202) 314-4701 prior to 5 p.m. EDT on June 30, 2010 to be put on the roster to speak that day and plan on being at Jefferson Auditorium in the USDA South Building, 14th Street and Independence Avenue, S.W., on July 8th from 9am-5pm.

When these new 2010 Dietary Guidelines become permanent and are implemented by the end of the year, it’s not the time for us to become discouraged. This is where our work has to truly begin. More and more of us who have had our lives changed by the power of livin’ la vida low-carb need to put ourselves out there even more online through blogs, YouTube videos, podcasts, discussion boards, and everywhere people who need to hear the truth will frequent. Realize that we live in a day and age of information and people are tired of being lied to about why they are fat and sick. They want and need answers to their specific problems and perhaps a healthy low-carb lifestyle change is just what they need despite what some mindless 13-member “expert” panel may be advising them to do. We must stand ready to share with them what we know to be true. Are you ready?

  • Matt

    I’m livid. I’m glad I wasted my time littering their records with public comments.

  • Matt

    OK please delete my previous comment Jimmy, you are right now is not the time to get discouraged. I am going to try to arrange a business trip around July 8 and will try to be there.

  • In my latest post I gave the solution to the politicians, but they won’t listen.

  • Throughout hundreds – if not thousands – of pages of Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) transcripts – six meetings – the words “blood sugar” and “insulin” do not appear. Yes – even in the midst of a national diabetes epidemic! Dr. Joanne Slavin, a DGAC member from the University of Minnesota, served as chair of the Carbohydrate Committee. In her testimony, Dr. Slavin did not single out high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) or sugar as “bad carbohydrates.” She said a “calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” She also said “there is inconclusive evidence” that the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load are tools for grading carbohydrates. She said in order to stuff ourselves with fiber – her specialty – we must emphasize carbohydrates – up to 65 percent of calories. I should point out that like Dr. Slavin, Cargill is in Minnesota, Cargill produces a lot of HFCS, there is a “Cargill” building on the farm campus at the University of Minnesota, and Cargill gave the University an extra $1 Million Dollars a few years ago. “Cornflict” of interest? Yes, Cargill owned the 13-member DGAC’s Carbohydrate Chairmanship – even in the midst of a national diabetes epidemic.

  • Thanks Al, You mentioned these connections in your podcast interview with Jimmy. Look at the bright side, at least it’s good to know what we and the rest of the American public are up against!

  • Dan (aka Renegadediabetic)

    I caught a glimpse of it on the news yesterday. Sad, but what I expected. $$$$ trumps science again. The big processed food companies have a big market in whole grains and cutting saturated fat.

    I used to eat the way the government said to eat and I just stayed fat and developed type 2 diabetes. Now I take the opposite approach.

    We have been rebels all this time and will continue to be rebels. Let’s keep doing what we were doing in getting the word out. As long as the government doesn’t try to force us to eat the way it recommends, we’ll be okay.

  • Sarah

    Did anyone expect a different result? Seriously, from this government???

    There is no US Department of Low Carb, no high rolling low carb lobbyists. Legislation is determined by cash and we just aren’t rich or powerful enough to buy the current administration.

    • You’re right Sarah…that’s why we need to be out there sharing the truth.

  • I can just see people eager to calculate their percentage of energy intake from non-stearic-acid saturated fats to make sure it’s less than 5%.

    Jimmy, I think there are a few studies that link high saturated fat consumption with insulin resistance. That’s one possible diabetes connection.

    These committee recommendations are outdated already.

    Have you ever noticed there arent’ any public statues of committees. [The statues are usually individuals.] Hmmm . . . I wonder why.

    -Steve

    • I’m sure there are a few studies that claim sat fat will raise insulin, but those studies usually include a lot of carbohydrate as well. Do a strictly high-saturated fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet study and it WON’T raise insulin IMHO. 🙂 Of course these “guidelines” are dated…it’s based on science that was trumped up decades ago. The USDA has never been about protecting public health…they simply want to protect the financial interests of the grain companies.

  • Hi Jimmy,
    I just put up a post about the revered “Food Pyramid” (bow our heads)

    http://fatthenfitnow.wordpress.com/2010/06/18/the-food-pyramid-help-or-harm/

    Joe

  • Jimmy, I really appreciate your hard work on this “terribly” important public health issue. Our best hope does not come from “inside” the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, rather, must come from “outside” the DGAC. In other words, we have to expose this matter to the public and see if we can wage a pubic outcry. We only have 25 days before the deadline for public comments on these guidelines. We’ll have a hope, if we can organize a public event or events at the national or local level for media coverage. I have checked my local newspaper since June 15, but have not seen a word about this matter.

    • We’re working on it, Dr. Su…more coming soon!

  • It is positively negligent to continue with these instructions when WHO has just announced the biggest study ever into fats and concludes that there is no link between saturated fats and heart disease. Combine this with the growing evidence that the real health hazard is starch and sugar and guess what you have a bunch of incompentent governement men chosing to make us fatter…unbelievable but truth is always stranger than fiction

  • Alan

    What is even more depressing Jimmy, I visited the site for comments and the bulk of the ones I read were against the new guidelines, but get this, they all called for a higher plant based lower meat and fat diet as the best. I don’t think we have progressed at all by the looks of this.

    • You’re right, Alan, but I think those who are commenting there are the vocal minority. Most people couldn’t or wouldn’t adopt that kind of eating plan if they had their choice.

  • This is quite discouraging. Statements like “The totality of evidence documenting a beneficial impact of plant-based, lower-sodium dietary patterns on CVD risk is remarkable.” What’s remarkable is the sense of self-delusion. The real question is whether they accept any responsibility for the epidemic of obesity and diabetes. If not, are we to blame the patient? Is there even a sense that there is a crisis in recommendations.

    On the other hand, the total government-based encouragement, light at the end of the tunnel sense is that the committee is totally out of touch and may allow more people to listen to and evaluate a minority opinion.

  • If the latest recommendations are for even lower fat and higher carbs in the diet, and you tract historically was has happened to our nations health as we have gone into the abyss of anti-fat, it would not be hard to see that there is an agenda to keep America Sick, Fat and Confused!