The USDA dietary recommendations have irritated me for some time. (I even casually mentioned nutritional science as being untrustworthy in a recent global warmongering post.) We grow ever fatter as a nation, with a disturbing number of individuals slipping into what is being called “metabolic syndrome” or “syndrome-X”, which is characterized by hyperglycemia/Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fat around the midsection, a poor cholesterol profile, and high triglycerides. And yet, Uncle Sam promotes a dietary regimen that probably contributes to our fatass-edness.
An increasing number of studies, including one recently linked at Hot Air, have found that carbohydrate restriction is much more effective in improving various measures of health (cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, etc.) than the traditional fat-restricted diet that is still being widely prescribed today. My own father, who has every symptom of metabolic syndrome listed above (plus the frequently present hyperurecemia, complete with uric acid kidney stones) was prescribed a low fat, low protein diet. Let me tell ya — it ain’t working.
And yet, the government has stuck with its idiotic “food pyramid”. I’m not sure which is worse, the original pyramid with all the white flour products listed at the base of the diet, or the completely incomprehensible modified version that fails to convey a clear dietary prescription. Yes, the USDA is set to release it’s new “Dinner Plate” graphic to replace the pyramid, but just last night (May 30, 2011) I saw a PSA featuring the modified pyramid. Government work at its finest — sticking with a broken plan well after it has been identified as such.
It’s time for the feds to get out of the diet game. The science is in a colossal state of flux right now. I don’t know if the “paleolithic diet” is the right one. It sounds interesting, though the strawberry krimpet Tastykakes I just polished off suggest I’m not totally committed yet. Maybe the “Mediterranean” diet is better. Or, perhaps there’s not just one diet that works for everybody. Frankly, I think individualization is the wave of the nutritional future.
We already know that health-related variations exist across the rainbow of humanity. We know that adult lactose tolerance is a relatively recent mutation, most commonly found in those of northern European descent. We know that about half the Asian population does not metabolize alcohol as efficiently as Caucasians do. Even certain medicines seem to have varying reactions among people of different races.
The dairy industry is putting its best spin on the new USDA “Dinner Plate” which shoves dairy off to the side. How about this instead — Maybe if you’re a sub-Saharan African or a Native American you might want to lay off the Gouda if it makes you fart, and if you’re an eighth generation Scandanavian dairy farmer you should eat all the dairy you want (-and wash it down with a beer) and not worry about it.
I’m glad that the new “dinner plate” has less emphasis on grains than the old food pyramid, but half the plate is still composed of grains plus fruits. That’s a lot of carbs. Should we really be eating so much fruit given the role of fructose in body fat formation and credible speculation that fructose feeds cancer like gasoline on a fire?
Bottom line is that the government has no idea what to tell people even if it was capable of giving us a clear message. Even if you could make a case that the government should issue some sort of nutritional guidelines, they certainly shouldn’t come from the same cabinet agency charged with managing agribusiness corporate welfare.