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Federal dietary guidelines criticized for serving special interests

March 18, 2009 by  

Federal dietary guidelines criticized for serving special interestsExperts have pointed out that federal guidelines regarding proper nutritional intake are not justified medically and protect the interests of the food industry.

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, two nutritional researchers Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. claim that a significant number of health problems among Americans stem from the quality and quantity of food they consume.

Their key assertion is that a whole-foods plant-based diet can prevent conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or cancer, but the federal nutritional guidelines are surprisingly scant when it comes to these foods.

Rather, the Food and Nutrition Board’s 2002 report suggests that the consumption of up to 35 percent of calories as fat is acceptable as a way to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, a level the experts dismiss as too high.

"[T]he scientific findings on diet and disease are marginalized by the political power of huge, mutually reinforcing commercial interests – meat, dairy, sugar, drugs and surgery," they state.

In their view, the special interests are determined to convince lawmakers that solving the health care crisis should rely on increasing access to drugs and medical procedures instead of focusing on expanding access to safe and nutritional foods sources.

Campbell is a professor emeritus of nutritional biochemistry at Cornell University, and Esselstyn is a former president of the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons and a preventive medicine consultant at the Cleveland Clinic.
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