DIETARY GUIDELINES COMMITTEE
Referring to my last blog- this committee makes key guidelines that effect our nation’s health. The Dietary Guidelines are jointly issued and updated every 5 years by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). They provide authoritative advice for people about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. (Again- this is how the Food Guide Pyramid and the School Lunch Programs are established)
I was so excited to find out that the next Dietary Guidelines will be published in 2010- and the committee has already met 3 times this year to discuss the revision. We even have access to the meeting notes at: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm
The most excited part I found is that WE AS THE PUBLIC can summit comments to the committee for them to take into consideration when revising the guidelines.
As I read through some of the comments that have been posted- it was very interesting who is leaving comments and what kind they are leaving. This might not be interesting to everyone, but I thoroughly enjoyed looking thru the comments. I will attempt to summarize my favorites. I have classified them in two groups- "MY PEOPLE" and THE “bias” MONEY MAKERS:
John McDougall, MD (was one of the first traditional physicians of the medical "establishment" to assert that adoption of a vegetarian diet can reverse unfavorable medical conditions such as heart disease- he is a best selling author. Check out his site: www.drmcdougall.com)
Summary of his comment:
So far the dietary guidelines have made no meaningful impact on the health of Americans. Please spend time looking over the benefits of a diet based on the starchy foods that have caused billions of people to be trim, active, young and healthy. For example the Asians on rice, people from rural Mexico on beans and corn, the Peruvians on potatoes, the people from New Guinea on sweet potatoes. Americans are sick because the focus of their diet is not on starch, but instead on meat and dairy products and refined foods. Only a serious change in our diet will cause serious change in people's health. I would be happy to share more thoughts on this if you would like.
John McDougall, MD
Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., M.D. (a former internationally known surgeon, researcher and clinician at the Cleveland Clinic- now he helps patients reverse heart disease through a plant-based whole foods diet www.heartattackproof.com)
Summary of his comment:
Evidence based research and epidemiological studies leave no doubt that the epidemic of cardiovascular disease results from consuming the typical Western diet of processed oils, dairy, meat, sugar and processed flour. Furthermore patients with severe coronary artery disease have been able to halt and reverse the disease when eliminating these products from their nutrition. Science of the 21st century clearly refutes the health claims of the present food pyramid.
Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr
Dr. Hans Diehl (is Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Institute of Loma Linda, California. His pioneering efforts have shown conclusively that many of today's diseases are truly reversible through some simple lifestyle changes www.chipusa.org)
Summary of his comment:
In harmony with the Cancer Guidelines issues by the World Cancer Research Fund and the work done by Neal Barnard, (Reversing Diabetes) T. Colin Campbell (The China Study) and Caldwell Esselstyn (Clevelandclinic on Reversing CHD) and in view of ecological consideration, would it not be wise to take another and more serious look at the advantages of a more plant-food centered low fat diet diet high in vegetables, fruits and legumes? Many of us in the field of epidemiology view the scientific evidence as rather compelling.
Dr. Hans Diehl
Neal Barnard, M.D. (one of America’s leading advocates for health, nutrition, and higher standards in research. As the principal investigator of several human clinical research trials, whose results are published in peer-reviewed medical and scientific journals, Dr. Barnard has examined key issues in health and nutrition.
Neal Barnard is the founder and president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). Dr. Barnard is also president of The Cancer Project, a nonprofit organization advancing cancer prevention and survival through nutrition education and research. www.nealbarnard.org)
Summary of his comment:
It is essential that the Dietary Guidelines address Americans as they are. That is, most Americans are overweight, the vast majority have the beginnings of atherosclerosis, if not fully developed cardiovascular disease, and many have other diet-related health problems, such as hypertension or diabetes. It is a mistake to draft Guidelines as if Americans are healthy and trim. More and more research shows that low-fat, plant-based diets are most effective for prevention and treatment of chronic diseases that plague our nation. In light of recent publications highlighting the benefits of low-fat vegetarian and vegan diets, I think that a critically important question in need of an Evidence-based Review by this esteemed committee is, ?What role can low-fat vegetarian and vegan diets play in the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases, particularly obesity, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancer??
Neal Barnard, M.D.
It is so exciting to see “MY PEOPLE” make these wonderful comments. There is a good amount of them, which is promising…but there is also a good amount of OTHER comments. Some made me laugh…and others made me mad. Again- it’s all about the money.
The “Bias” MONEY MAKERS
The Salt Institute wrote a letter stated why the guidelines need to increase the maximum amount of daily SALT recommended to Americans.
The Corn Refiners Association explained the benefits of corn.
The National Fisheries Institute wants the committee to recommend more Fish.
This all makes sense- these “associations” are of course linked to INDUSTRY. And the industries can benefit highly from the recommendations of this committee.
What I like to think about, is all of "MY PEOPLE" don't make a dime if you eat more broccoli and stay away from disease promoting food. They are totally non-bias physicians, researchers, scientists that want what's best for our nation. I don't know about you...but I trust them more than I do the INDUSTRY associations.
Not so sure where this comment fits into my categories- but I thought it was interesting:
The School Nutritional Association:
Their letter basically requested that the Guidelines Committee should be practical and makes things achievable for the school meal program. They state that the meals they serve need to be attractive to the national student body. If they don’t serve an acceptable meal, the students will bring their own. They state that higher standards in food will drive up the cost.
I guess I can see where they are coming from- the current federal reimbursement rate is $2.57 per meal…and most schools trying to keep within these rates- are still loosing money every year. I guess the schools don’t want higher standards and they want to make sure to offer appealing food.
I don’t know about you…but I was hoping our schools would want to offer the BEST nutrition out there- but again, MONEY is involved.
PLEASE go to the Dietary Guideline Committee and make a comment: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DietaryGuidelines.htm
For more of The “Bias” MONEY MAKERS…check out my next blog.