by Sally Fallon Morell
THE USDA 2010 DIETARY GUIDELINES COMMITTEE:
REARRANGING THE DECK CHAIRS ON THE TITANIC
Every five years, the United States Department of Agriculture convenes a group of university and industry â€śexpertsâ€ť to update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Congress gave USDA the mandate for telling us how to eat in 1980, and the original guidelines recommended a â€śwell-balanced dietâ€ť that included fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, dairy products and meats, and avoided â€śtoo muchâ€ť sugar, salt, alcohol, saturated fat and cholesterol. The emphasis on carbohydrate-rich foods began in the late 1980s and became enshrined in the Food Guide Pyramidâ€”with its base of six to eleven daily servings of bread, pasta, crackers and cerealsâ€”in 1992.
The most recent guidelinesâ€”published in 2005â€”put more emphasis on fruits and vegetables than grains, while limiting calories to 2300 per day, saturated fats to 10 percent of calories, total fat intake to 25-30 percent of calories, and cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams per day. Meats should be lean and dairy products lowfat or fat-freeâ€”horrid and inedible. You arenâ€™t permitted any butter or cream on all those fruits and vegetablesâ€”you have to choke them down dry to avoid exceeding your limit of saturated fat. And on this starvation fare you are supposed to engage in â€śmoderate-intensity physical activityâ€ť sixty to ninety minutes per day.
Letâ€™s put the cards on the table: these guidelines are not based on science but were designed to promote the products of commodity agriculture andâ€”through the back doorâ€”encourage the consumption of processed foods. For while the USDA food police pay lip service to reducing our intake of refined sweeteners, trans fats, white flour and salt, this puritanical lowfat prescription ultimately leads to cravings and indulgence in chips, sweets, sodas, breads and other empty food-and-beverage-like products just loaded with refined sweeteners, trans fats, white flour and salt.
Coupled with the USDA-sanctioned industrialization of agriculture, which resulted in a huge reduction in nutrients and increase in toxins in the American diet, the guidelines have caused an epidemic of suffering and disease, one so serious that it threatens to sink the ship of state. But is the 2010 Guidelines Committee concerned? Are they going to abandon their Frankenstein creation and scurry to the lifeboats before itâ€™s too late? Not at all. Rather than chuck out the food pyramid and their horrendous strictures as a tragic and failed experiment, they are merely fiddling with some of the details, such as how to get Americans to eat more tomatoes. Some committee members are actually proposing reduction of the saturated fat allowance to a mere 7 percent of calories and cholesterol to 200 mgâ€”for reference, one large egg contains about 245 mg cholesterolâ€”based on the following tortured logic: restriction of cholesterol and saturated fat has not caused heart disease to decline, ergo, the current guidelines are not restrictive enough.
Actually, we are not being fair. Some of the committee membersâ€”mostly women membersâ€”have expressed concern during committee meetings (available to the public via webinars) about widespread deficiencies in the American diet, noting the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, K and E as â€śnutrients of concern.â€ť But there is no way for Americans to consume sufficient quantities of these critical vitamins while confined to the lowfat, low-saturated fat, low-cholesterol, low-calorie cage of the USDA dietary guidelines. Further, the committee admits that many Americans are also deficient in calcium, magnesium, potassium iron, phosphorus, B12, folate and choline. Their solution is to eat more â€śnutrient-denseâ€ť fruits and vegetables. Iâ€™ve got news for the committee: fruits and vegetables are not nutrient-dense foods. If you donâ€™t believe me, just check the data tables and compare the nutrients in plant foods with those in eggs, whole milk, cheese, butter, meat and organ meats.
Research into the role of choline in human development casts a glimmer into the dark corners of the current paradigm. Choline is critical for good health and is especially necessary for growing children. If choline intake is too low during pregnancy and growth, brain connections cannot form. And if choline is abundant during developmental years, the individual is protected for life from developmental decline. The National Academy of Sciences recommends 375 mg per day for children nine through thirteen years of age, 450 mg for pregnant women and 550 mg for lactating women and men aged fourteen and older. These amounts are provided by four or five egg yolks per dayâ€”but that would entail consuming 800-1000 mg cholesterol, a crime by USDA standards. The committee referred to this as the â€ścholine problemâ€ťâ€”I kid you not! Chicken liver and beef liver are also excellent sources of choline, but to get enough of this brain nutrient from liver, you would â€śpoisonâ€ť yourself by exceeding the maximum recommended allowance for vitamin A. So while we watch in horror the blighting of our childrenâ€™s lives with failure to thrive, learning disorders, attention deficit disorder, autism and mental retardation, the committee is sticking to its anti-cholesterol guns. Truly, we have sacrificed our children on the altar of Baal, and the USDA has wielded the knife.
Putting the USDA in charge of the dietary guidelines is like letting the devil teach Sunday school. A growing number of Americans now recognize the devilâ€™s food and have learned to avoid it. But millions of others have no choiceâ€”those in hospitals, nursing homes, prisons and schools. Yes, the most serious repercussion of the USDA Dietary Guidelines is the fact that our children no longer get real foodâ€”not even whole milkâ€”at the breakfasts and lunches served in schools. By two oâ€™clock in the afternoon, they are starving and head for the vending machines, where they can load up on junk food filled with refined sweeteners that weaken their bones and make them fat, filled with additives that addle their brains, filled with the kinds of industrial fats that prevent the girls from later having a normal, healthy pregnancyâ€”or any pregnancy at allâ€”and that hinder the boys from normal sexual performance, in short, nothing but misery and suffering, suffering and misery for the rest of their lives.
The solution? Rescind the mandate, withdraw the funding, disband the committee. Let your elected officials know that the USDA Dietary Guidelines are destroying America. Then return to the kitchen and prepare real foodâ€”including your childrenâ€™s lunchesâ€”using the products of grass-based farms and artisan processors. Eat lots of butter, cook with lard, drink whole raw milk, enjoy forbidden foods like patĂ©, bacon and rich sauces. Good food, nutrient-dense food, will keep you out of hospitals, nursing homes and prisonsâ€”will allow you to live longer and happier lives than the government â€śexperts.â€ť Short of arresting the committee for crimes against the state, itâ€™s the only way to get your revenge. . . . because, after all, the best revenge is living well.