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Remembering Kevin Moore

2010 Dietary Guidelines Touted As Iron-Clad, But Totally Ignored Low-Carb Science

After waiting with bated breath for the past two years, Americans can now breathe a collective sigh of relief today since The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) along with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) came down from the proverbial mountaintop with the holy grail of all nutritional recommendations with the better-late-than-never 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that is designed “For A Healthier Life.” This $500,000 investment into creating what is billed as the most up-to-date nutritional policy in the United States (with heavy influence on how the world views a healthy diet) was originally schedule to be released to the public in December 2010, but for some mysterious reason they decided to hold off until early 2011. Whatever! This is the first update to the Dietary Guidelines since 2005 and they might as well have not even bothered since nothing much changed to improve upon what has pretty much been in place for two decades–all the while obesity, diabetes, and chronic disease has been on a sharp incline.

All the usual suspects showed up in the 2010 report that shouldn’t surprise anyone:

– Create a calorie balance by paying attention to “calories in, calories out”
– Lower consumption of sodium, solid fats (major sources of saturated fats and trans fats), cholesterol, added sugars, refined grains, and for some Americans, alcohol
– Increase consumption of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products (dairy products), protein foods, including seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, nuts, and seeds, and vegetable oils
– Raise the amount of physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors
– Consume less than 10 percent saturated fat and replace them with monounsaturated fats
– Eat less than 300mg daily of dietary cholesterol
– No more than 2,300mg sodium daily and less than 1,500 for people 51+
– Up to two alcoholic drinks daily for men and one daily for women

Blah blah blah…yadda yadda yadda…and a partridge in a pear tree! Did we REALLY expect to see anything different than this as I predicted last summer? Maybe we held out SOME hope that they’d listen to us talking about the growing body of evidence in support of carbohydrate-restriction after a group of low-carb researchers and activists testified before the USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee in July 2010, including my own personal plea with the Committee to seriously consider low-carb nutrition lest nothing changes over the next five years (incidentally, they had promised to post a transcript of the oral testimony here shortly afterwards but it has never happened–gee, I wonder why?!). But during the online media press conference this morning, there was a question and answer session about the new Dietary Guidelines. There were a lot of softball questions about clarification on what the Dietary Guidelines were saying and some praise from various people who were speaking. But then towards the end, there was a question posed that made me perk up because it was about why low-carb diets weren’t given any consideration in the final report in light of all the evidence that has been published in major medical journals since the 2005 Dietary Guidelines were made public. It was asked by a spokesman for The Nutrition & Metabolism Society and you’re not gonna believe the answer he gave. I put together this YouTube video to illustrate the absurdity of this USDA minion’s answer:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIPPkz8x7eE

Did you catch that? He immediately admitted, “We did receive an awful lot of public input on the issue of carbohydrates and the amount to be consumed or perhaps to be concerned with.” You bet your sweet bippy you did. From top researchers to involved laypeople like myself, the USDA was inundated with both anecdotal and scientific evidence supporting the veracity of low-carb diets for people desiring improved health and proper weight management. They were exposed to many of those studies I included in my video above…and yet this “Idiot Of The Year” nominee claims “the evidence is just not there.” Can you believe he stood there and said this with a straight face?! The saddest part of this is they promoted these new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as above reproach featuring all the best experts on nutrition who cannot be questioned in the least. You and I know this is simply not true since not a single member of the expert Committee has done research on low-carb diets. Throughout this process the members of the Committee ignored the low-carb elephant in the room and that continued even to this day when they made their big announcement about it. Such a crying shame that the general public is being bamboozled yet again and the implications on their weight and health will continue to reverberate over at least the next five years short of some intervention from a counter-message (like what I share here at “Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb”).

Now some of you are probably thinking, “Jimmy, what’s the big deal about these silly Dietary Guidelines? Nobody ever pays attention to them anyway, so it’s no harm, no foul.” If that’s how you feel, then I invite you to take a look at all the government programs that “rely on and plan for” these Dietary Guidelines to be the template for creating “healthy” meals for tens of millions of Americans to consume:

– SNAP (formerly Food Stamps)
– Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)
– National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
– Nutrition Facts Labeling
– Food education programs and campaigns
– USDA Food Plans (Thrifty, Low-Cost, Moderate-Cost, and Liberal) used for SNAP allotments
– Food allowances for the U.S. military
– Setting child support and foster care guidelines
– MyPyramid educational materials, online diet assessment and planning tools for consumers
– The Healthy Eating Index to measure the diet quality of the U.S. population
– Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), use the Dietary Guidelines to guide decisions on food purchasing, create research grant opportunities, analyses of food consumption survey data, and monitor other national initiatives.
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) implements Fruits & Veggies — More Matters as a program that provides substantial resources for consumers based on the Dietary Guidelines and also updates the Healthy Weight web site in English and Spanish
– Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses for Front of Pack and other nutrition labeling initiatives.
– National Institutes of Health (NIH) produces many consumer initiatives to promote healthy eating and physical activity principles of the Dietary Guidelines (e.g., WECAN!, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute’s Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension Eating Plan, NICHD’s Media-Smart Youth materials).
– Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) implements Healthy People 2020, which includes a section on nutrition and weight status which provides a mechanism to measure the Nation’s progress toward implementing the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines
– The Administration on Aging (AoA), Administration for Children and Families (ACF), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Indian Health Service (IHS), and Office on Women’s Health (OWH), have nutrition and health education programs geared toward specific population groups based on the Dietary Guidelines, such as the Older Americans Nutrition Program and Head Start (ACF).

As you can see, these 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have far-reaching implications into the daily life of just about everyone in the United States which is why what is included in them is so important. And let’s not forget about organizations like the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association, and other health-related groups who cite the Dietary Guidelines as their evidence for a low-fat, high-carb diet for health. It’s disgusting in the worst way to think people believe this stuff because they trust the information they’re being given at face value without questioning whether it’s true or not. Most people don’t have the time to investigate the claims and simply believe them to be true. Then they wonder why their weight and health continues to flail despite doing everything right.

It’s a recipe for failure that has worked like a charm for so long that I’m beginning to wonder if people are finally catching on to the ruse. I sure hope so because there needs to be some major changes happen between now and 2015 when the next update to the Dietary Guidelines is examined. We’re gonna be doing our part to communicate the science supporting carbohydrate-restriction with as many people as possible so the USDA can’t keep pulling this smoke and mirrors act on us without serious consequences. What we need now more than ever is a serious, all-inclusive public commission to examine low-carb nutrition so we can judge the merits of this way of eating on weight and health. The evidence that is swelling in the scientific community in support of carbohydrate-restricted nutrition shows no signs of letting up and I’ll be here to keep sharing about it for many more years to come. One of these days when the tide turns in favor of low-carb (and it IS coming!), you can say you were on the cutting edge of watching it all happen. That day can’t come soon enough!

  • Jimmy, I am honestly NOT surprised. I mean, why lose all that funding/subsidy for BIG AGRA by demonizing the very thing they are funded for?
    I think we just need to forget the govt for a while. Think of it like communism: every country communism touched became a disaster. The one-size-fits all paradigm of the NDA is not unlike communism. A nice idea at the starrt, but a NIGHTMARE when it is put into practice.
    We have the choice in Canada/America, so let’s take care of ourselves, and the govt can stay out of it!

    • Jason, I agree with you on principle. But the sad reality is the DAG does matter to a lot of people who have not been enlightened by the truth yet. That’s why I’ll never step down from this bully pulpit I have.

  • These guidelines are more like deathlines. Everything they suggest has failed miserably, so they demand even more of what makes people sick and starved of vital nutrients. Makes you wonder how they can be so stupid. Or maybe they have another agenda. How they could just ignore all the great low carb research disgusts me.

  • Meet the new boss, the same as the old boss.

    Although it saddens me to know that so many people will just take whatever dietary advice their government spoon-feeds them unquestioningly, the only way that the low-calorie/low-fat/low-cholesterol behemoth will ever be slain is when we get tired of doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

    Fortunately, some people ARE realizing this, looking up for answers, ending up at sites like yours, and empowering themselves to make massive changes! :-)

  • Feinman and others have published a rebuttal of the science behind these recommendations.
    “In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee”
    The free full text is available at
    http://download.journals.elsevierhealth.com/pdfs/journals/0899-9007/PIIS0899900710002893.pdf
    The section headings give a good idea of why these recommendations are fundamentally flawed.
    “Strong recommendations, weak evidence”

    “Macronutrients: Research questions are formulated in a way that prevents a thorough investigation of the literature” (Translation: we only see what we want to see.)

    “Macronutrients and weight loss: Science is inaccurately summarized”

    “Low carbohydrate diets: Science is inaccurately represented”

    “Low carbohydrate diets: Conclusions do not reflect quantity and/or quality of relevant science”

    “Effects of saturated fat: Answers based on an incomplete body of relevant science”

    “Diabetes and fat: Science is inaccurately represented or summarized”

    “Dietary fiber and whole grains: Conclusions do not reflect the quantity and/or quality of science”

    “Animal versus plant protein: Recommendations do not reflect limitations and uncertainties of the science”
    But no doubt “official” nutritionists will go on repeating “official” policy because their jobs depend on saying what they are paid to say.

  • Peter Silverman

    It’s funny that all the experts know so precisely what I should eat, though I have trouble finding
    research to support it. I’m not quite sure what will happen to me if I eat less than 45% carbs (the government’s minimum.) I see Andrew Weil thinks I need to eat pasta at least twice but not more than three times a week, though I’m not sure what illnesses I risk by not getting exactly the right amount of spaghetti.

  • May I also suggest readers study Denise Minger’s blog.
    http://rawfoodsos.com/2011/02/04/the-new-usda-dietary-guideline/
    The New USDA Dietary Guidelines: Total Hogwash, and Here’s Why
    There is something so sweet and girlie and cutesy about Denise Minger that is really, really scary.
    Talk about wolf in sheep’s clothing’
    Denise wields a hatchet like a professional demolition expert. She is absolutely ruthless. Just look at the way she tears into the evidence supporting those guideline.

    The paper that Feinman authored, link above, may the the polite scientific way of proceeding but Denise Minger’s attack is really going to make the ordinary reader understand the total failure of modern nutritionists and dieticians to get their act together and work on the public’s behalf.

  • This is one of the first articles I read after the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released. http://www.foodinsight.org/Blog/tabid/60/EntryId/419/New-Dietary-Guidelines-Released-by-USDA-and-HHS.aspx

    I had never heard of the International Food Information Council Foundation (IFICF) prior to stumbling across this article. It’s a fascinating organization because it is closely connected to the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion (CNPP) not to mention America’s 70,000 registered dietitians. It’s sort of the Walmart of educational enterprises. Yet who pays attention? Certainly, I didn’t – until now. If the CNPP is the vortex of nutritional authority, the IFICF is the vortex of educational influence. The IFICF is the antithesis of the Weston A Price Foundation. Do visit the IFICF website. http://www.foodinsight.org/about-ific-and-food-safety.aspx

  • K-elder

    Things are not any better in Canada.  The Canadian Government is also slow to change the low fat dogma, not matter how wrong the dogma is.