I am so pleased and honored to have been named the first Executive Director of the Weston A. Price Foundation by the Board of Directors. The basic principle of the Foundation lies at the core of my mission in life which is to educate, educate and educate–Price said, “You teach, you teach, you teach!” I take no greater pleasure than to be able to be a part of the global paradigm shift to healthier life styles and well-being. The core of that shift is food and nutrition, in my opinion. And, the Weston A. Price Foundation and all its members and chapter leaders are at the forefront of that shift. I acknowledge all of you for your courage and commitment to be leaders in your families and communities and to provide a guiding light to those unsure of the path to take regarding health and nutrition. Community and partnership are key. No one can do this alone. We have much work to do in the coming years. I look forward to being of service and working with all of you for the greater good.
With that I am pleased to announce that the Foundation is moving into its own home (literally). We have leased a two story house in Washington DC for our offices. This will consolidate our management, membership, chapter, financial and public affairs activities in one location. Our staff includes:
Kathy O’Brien: Membership, chapters and chapter leaders
Liz Pitfield: Graphics, advertisements, brochure fulfillment
Bill Sanda: Management, finance, public affairs and external relations
Our new phone numbers are:
(tel) 202 363-4394
(fax) 202 363-4396
Mailing Address: (same as before)
PMB 106-380, 4200 Wisconsin Avenue NW
Washington DC 20016
To your health and well-being!
THE 2005 DIETARY GUIDELINES AND FOOD GUIDANCE SYSTEM
Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, the federal government’s advice for promoting health and reducing risk of chronic diseases through nutrition and physical activity, was released on January 12, 2005. The sixth edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity. This joint project of the Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture is the latest of the reviews required every five years by federal law. It forms the basis of all federal food programs and nutrition education programs, including the School Lunch Programs.
The new Guidelines are the culmination of over a year’s work by 13 nutrition scientists selected for the Guidelines Advisory Committee. The Weston A. Price Foundation submitted written testimony several times and had the opportunity to speak before the Committee in public hearings. While the Foundation supported the Committee’s recommendations regarding fruits and vegetable consumption, we were adamantly opposed to its unhealthy recommendations regarding saturated fats, cholesterol, whole milk and raw, unpasteurized milk and juices. Here are links to PDFs of our testimony and comments.
The report identifies 41 key recommendations, of which 23 are for the general public and 18 for special populations. They are grouped into nine general topics. Following is a list of key recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines, including our comments and recommendations in italics:
ADEQUATE NUTRIENTS WITHIN CALORIE NEEDS
- Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol. [The Foundation testified against the recommendation regarding saturated fats and cholesterol. Our comments fell on deaf ears. In addition, the Foundation recommended “added sugars” should be returned to its former prominent place in the Committee’s findings, not buried under ” Carbohydrates.” As the consumption of sugar has increased in the United States, so have all the “civilized” diseases.]
- Meet recommended intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern. [The emphasis of the Guidelines should have been on food quality, not on contrived macronutrient ratios.]
- To maintain body weight in a healthy range, balance calories from foods and beverages with calories expended.
- To prevent gradual weight gain over time, make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.
- Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight.
- To reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood: Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, at work or home on most days of the week.
- For most people, greater health benefits can be obtained by engaging in physical activity of more vigorous intensity or longer duration.
- To help manage body weight and prevent gradual, unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood: Engage in approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.
- To sustain weight loss in adulthood: Participate in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding caloric intake requirements.
FOOD GROUPS TO ENCOURAGE
- Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.
- Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
- Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
- Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. [The Foundation again urged the Committee to support the consumption of whole milk and raw milk, to no avail.][The Foundation recommended Guidelines that encourage the inclusion of the following four food groups in the daily diet:
- Animal foods: meat, poultry, fish, eggs and whole milk products
- Grains and legumes: whole grain baked goods and breakfast porridges, beans
- Fruits and Vegetables: preferably fresh or frozen
- Beneficial Fats and Oils: unrefined saturated and monounsaturated fats including butter and other animal fats, palm oil and coconut oil, olive oil and peanut oil.]
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible. [The Foundation supported the recommendation on trans fatty acid consumption but again urged the Committee not to adopt their stand on saturated fats and cholesterol. We recommended that the Advisory Committee discontinue its unscientific opposition to animal fats.]
- Keep total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.[The Foundation emphasized that commercial, refined vegetable oils should be limited in their consumption, to no avail. In addition, the emphasis of the Guidelines should have been on food quality, not on contrived macronutrient ratios.]
- When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free. [The Foundation emphasized that there are a number of nutritional differences between the meat of pasture-raised and feedlot-raised animals: meat from grass-fed cattle, sheep, and bison is lower in total fat.]
- Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated and/or trans fatty acids, and choose products low in such fats and oils. [Same issue.]The Foundation recommended children especially need adequate amounts of stable saturated fats; they need enough of the monounsaturated fats or oils; and they need an adequate amount and a proper balance of the essential fatty acids, which come primarily from the omega-3 and omega-6 oils; foods should be chosen so that they supply a mixture of beneficial fats and oils; no one fat or oil can properly suit all purposes, although many of the good quality animal fats come close; the only good source of fat-soluble vitamins in the American diet is butterfat; and babies and children need cholesterol-rich foods, such as meats and butterfat, throughout their growing years to ensure proper development of the brain and nervous system. Children should not be limited to nonfat or low-fat milks.]
- Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains often.
- Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners. [The Guidelines should include warnings to avoid refined foods such as sugar, high fructose corn syrup, white flour, industrially processed vegetable oils, trans fats and artificial flavorings ,but failed to so.]
- Reduce the incidence of dental caries by practicing good oral hygiene and consuming sugar- and starch-containing foods and beverages less frequently.
SODIUM AND POTASSIUM
- Consume less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) of sodium per day.
- Choose and prepare foods with little salt. At the same time, consume potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.
- Those who choose to drink alcoholic beverages should do so sensibly and in moderation–defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
- Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed by some individuals, including those who cannot restrict their alcohol intake, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, pregnant and lactating women, children and adolescents, individuals taking medications that can interact with alcohol, and those with specific medical conditions.
- Alcoholic beverages should be avoided by individuals engaging in activities that require attention, skill, or coordination, such as driving or operating machinery.
To avoid microbial food borne illness:
- Clean hands, food contact surfaces, and fruits and vegetables. Meat and poultry should not be washed or rinsed.
- Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing foods.
- Cook foods to a safe temperature to kill microorganisms.
- Chill (refrigerate) perishable food promptly and defrost foods properly.
- Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, unpasteurized juices, and raw sprouts. [Again, the Foundation was adamantly opposed to these recommendations.]
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines and consumer brochure are available at http://www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.
The 2005 Food Guidance System
U.S. Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns unveiled on April 19, 2005, MyPyramid, a new symbol and interactive food guidance system that replaces the original Food Pyramid first introduced in 1992. MyPyramid is part of an overall federal food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.
One-size-fits-all approach to food and nutrition appears to be history, from a federal point of view. MyPyramid incorporates recommendations from the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, whose limitations we discussed above. The MyPyramid symbol is the original Food Pyramid flipped on its side and incorporates USDA’s five food groups and edible oils: orange = grains (including whole grains); green = vegetables; red = fruits, yellow = fats (vegetable oils, no solid fats); blue = milk (pasteurized, reduced fat only); and purple = protein foods (lean meat and beans). It is interesting to note that the USDA does not consider fats and oils a food group. The MyPyramid symbol represents the recommended proportion of foods from each of the food groups:
- Personalization, demonstrated by the http://www.MyPyramid.gov website.
- Gradual improvement, encouraged by the slogan, “Steps to a Healthier You.”
- Physical activity, represented by the steps and the person climbing them, as a reminder of the importance of daily physical activity.
- Variety, symbolized by the six color bands representing the five food groups of MyPyramid and oils.
- Moderation, represented by the narrowing of each food group from bottom to top. The wider base stands for foods with little or no solid fats, added sugars, or caloric sweeteners. These should be selected more often to get the most nutrition from calories consumed.
- Proportionality, shown by the different widths of the food group bands. The widths suggest how much food a person should choose from each group. The widths are just a general guide, not exact proportions.
- MyPyramid Plan – provides a quick estimate of what and how much food you should eat from the different food groups by entering your age, gender and activity level.
- MyPyramid Tracker – provides more detailed information on your diet quality and physical activity status by comparing a day’s worth of foods eaten with current nutrition guidance. Relevant nutrition and physical activity messages are tailored to your desire to maintain your current weight or to lose weight.
- Inside MyPyramid – provides in-depth information for every food group, including recommended daily amounts in commonly used measures, like cups and ounces, with examples and everyday tips. The section also includes recommendations for choosing healthy oils, discretionary calories and physical activity.
- Start Today – provides tips and resources that include downloadable suggestions on all the food groups and physical activity, and a worksheet to track what you are eating.
Since MyPyramid reflects the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005, we can expect more of the same with respect to obesity and chronic disease. USDA has steadfastly ignored research on saturated fats as well as cholesterol, whole milk and raw milk. While the new food guidance system does emphasize whole grains, vegetables and fruits, it still reflects thinking in the dark ages regarding fats and oils. In all, MyPyramid is more of the same.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Spring 2005.