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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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  • Bob Livingston

    The famous “food pyramid” allegedly is stacked in favor of the people who donate the most to the FDA and it does not relate to reality.

    The truth is that the American diet is political and a commercial enterprise.

    Of course special interests want the American people dependent on drugs and medical procedures. This precisely is the problem. They have taught people to confuse symptoms with disease. Many times drugs mask symtoms, leading people to believe they are cured.

  • Barbara

    The school lunch programs do not promote a wholesome balanced diet. I know I work in the public school lunch program.
    The ready to heat items are cereal based. So many of the kids from a certain ethnic background will eat only meat and breads. They very seldom eat fruit, vegetables and dairy products. This is the way they eat at home and they way they insist at school.

    Some ethnic groups do eat vegetables and fruit because they eat this way at home.
    The nutrition classes are given in school but the students ignore the information. The information needs to be in the homes. Until the home attitude changes the kids are going to eat a very out of balance diet.

  • s c mailen, jr.

    Is your health important? Food pyramids are disgusting scams that let food producers sell inferior food. MDs get rich from an endless supply of patients who eat non-nutritious food. To the uninformed, this sounds like science fiction, but it is the TRUTH. In effect, We pay endless billions for health issues that knowledge can prevent. It is utterly IMMORAL to be used/abused by anyone, especially those who make easy money via greed and misleading information. Leave mass-produced food on the grocery shelves. Indifferent food producers will have to COMPETE for your business. MDs will be forced to treat patients with RESPECT.

  • Informed Human

    Hence the books

    The Slow Poisoning of America, John Erb []
    The Hundred Year Lie, Randall Fitzgerald []
    Eat This Don’t Eat That, Mark Bittman []
    Omnivore’s Dilemma, Michael Pollan

    Lots more books on this giant food industry problem .. just look up Bittman’s book on Amazon, and check out the ‘other books’ below by other authors!

  • William Wooldridge

    I am looking for an insurance company that basses

    A persons overall health to the way they eat.

    Their life style, exercise.



    LOST 60 LBS.

    GO THE Y.M.C.A.




  • Jacob

    Those two nutritional researchers Dr. T. Colin Campbell and Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn Jr. who claim that a significant number of health problems among Americans stem from the quality and quantity of food they consume are absolutely correct. Most diseases can be cured by ones diet and exercise. Eating a whole foods diet based mostly on whole grains, legumes, vegetables and fruits can do wonders for improving ones health. But if our gov’t agreed to this and tried to get schools and hospitals to serve healthy food, and tried to encourage people to eat healthy diets do you realize how many people would lose their jobs? Most meat and Dairy industries would start to go bankrupt, Most fast food stores and junk food producers would close down shortly, doctors would rarely have patients and would have to find a second profession to be able to support themselves. Most medical research would no longer be necessary. Pharmacies would have to close down for lack of customers. Of course people would save so much money and that would be great, but how would we deal with the huge level of unemployment that would result? Even funerals would probably be less frequent. And the changes of life style that people would have to make would be so great that most people just wouldn’t have the discipline to do it. They’d prefer to be sick constantly and expecting others to control their health rather than have to change and be responsible for their own health. Any changes towards improving the quality and quantity of people’s foods they eat may take a few generations to complete unfortunately. But if one really wants to control their health it is a wise choice to make. A relative of mine was cured of cancer that way when the medical industry failed to cure her. A friend of mine got cured of 98% of her asthma problems that way when the medical industry failed to cure her. I’ve read many other stories of all sorts of diseases that have been cured by a healthy diet and exercise that the hospitals didn’t succeed in curing. With people living on healthy diets we’d probably even have fewer wars. Oy vay, would that mean all the miltary people would lose their jobs and the companies making nuclear arms and more would have to close down? Who would still be employed? And what in the world would we spend our money on? Without all those costs well maybe our national debts could actually be paid off. Then we wouldn’t have to pay so many taxes.
    And people could then have tons of money they could give in donations to nonprofit organizations and arts organizations as well as for saving the environment. And if people became mostly vegetarian this way, well we’d need 20 times less land to produce the food for their yearly consumption. Just think what a wonderful world we’d have created. But I’m sure it is more of a change than we could accept evenwithin the next century. Maybe in the next millenium however, if humans are still around we may get there.

  • Dennis Brewer

    I am not a nutritionist or necessarily the best spokesman for healthy living. While I may accept that there may be issues with the food pyramid, I do not think that it is the reason that there are so many health problems in the US. I do not think that the problem is that people are following this guideline, but rather that people are not following any guideline at all. The food pyramid does not tell people to go to fast food restaurants, eat large helpings or over indulge in junk food.

    Sure it is better to eat whole grain foods, fruits and fresh vegetables. You can find them in almost every grocery store in the country. If people did not buy the “bad” stuff, the companies that produce them would either go out of business or have to produce healthier choices. If we were to remove personal responsibility from the picture, we could say that it is the fault of the corporations that produce these foods or the government from not regulating them. However, I believe in personal responsibility, and the blame lies with the consumers.

    Personally, I believe that we need less government involvement in all aspects of our lives, so please, please, please tell me that you are not advocating that the government dictate the food we eat.

    • babybikerbabe

      I agree with Dennis. Personal responsibility is the key. If we held people accountable for treating their own health/weight related issues, more people would pay attention to what they put in their mouths.

      Having said that, I do have a bone to pick with the Food Pyramid. Dairy. Now don’t get me wrong, I like cream in my coffee, ice cream and cheeses as much (maybe more) than the next guy, but a nutritionist once told me that “Milk does NOT do a body good. We do not need it after infancy. To prove my point, when was the last time you saw a human being out in a field suckling a cow?”

      Enough said.


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