Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The USDA Food Pyramid: Another Source of Government Idiocy

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey has an excellent op-ed in today's WSJ about how to reform health care using free market ideas. I recommend everyone give it a read. There is one point, however, that I have to disagree with Mr. Mackey on, and it's a big one : the idea that low-fat diets are healthy.

These days, the USDA Food Pyramid does its best to keep this propaganda alive by recommending that we eat large amounts of grains and cereal, which, if you don't know, were never part of our evolutionary diet and behave the same way sugars to in our body, i.e. spike insulin levels, make us fat and cause other health problems. These guidelines were created by George McGovern's Senate Select Committee on Nutrition in 1977. McGovern's bias led him to not allow those opposed to the high carbohydrate, low fat plan, to testify.

Despite a lack of scientific evidence, saturated fat and cholesterol have become the scapegoats of for all that is wrong with our health today. Never mind that some of the largest studies ever conducted failed to prove this hypothesis, we continue to be bombarded with misinformation about low-fat diets being healthy. Much of this began at the start of the 20th Century, when vegetable oil companies lobbied and convinced the population to give up using butter, lard and other traditional fats and replace them with their products. Needless to say, heart attack rates shot way up and we've become sicker as a population, with lots of machines and drugs to keep us alive. And traditional fats are still being blamed!

There is hope in those who think outside the mainstream and look beyond the hype. So I'd like to thank the following people/organizations for shedding some much needed light on the subject of health and nutrition:
The Federal government's involvement in health care will only further erode medical freedom in this country, making it even more difficult to distinguish between what is true and what is a special interest.

For a good summary of our current state of nutrition, click here.

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