Experts Say Lobbying Skewed the U.S. Dietary Guidelines -Time Magazine*

According to an article in Time Magazine, the big food lobby spends billions to influence everything from blocking transparency on food labels to dictating what should and should not be included in the USDA's Food Guidelines.  In most cases, their recommendations are out of step with either current scientific findings or the will of the American citizens.

In the recent release of the USDA’s Food Guidelines, nutrition experts have been stunned at the recommendations that are counter to what studies have proven to be appropriate. Let’s look at red meat as an example.  Studies have long associated the consumption of red meat to heart disease, premature death and cancer. The USDA Advisory Committee, made up of scientists and nutritional experts included red meat with processed meats such as hot dogs and cold cuts in their recommendations.  They suggested chronic diseases could be prevented by eating less processed and red meats. On the other hand, the USDA’s Food Guidelines states, “Lower intakes of meats including processed meats … have been identified as characteristics of healthy eating patterns”. Yet, the Guidelines do not definitively recommend eating less processed or red meat.

The reason the USDA omitted directives to eat less meat is because the meat industry invests a lot of money to lobby against it.  Dr. Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics has served as an expert the USDA Food Guidelines in the past. She says in a TIME magazine article that, “I was told we could never say ‘eat less meat’ because the USDA would not allow it.”

Isn’t it curious that the USDA has been putting together annual Food Guidelines since 1980 and since then incidents of obesity and type-2 diabetes has more than doubled? In the 1990’s the guidelines were pro carbohydrates, and anti-fat, which is the opposite of what one needs to maintain a lower body weight. Healthy fats like avocado and coconut are good for you. Consuming an excess of carbohydrates will only become fat if not burned off through physical activity.

The bottom line would seem to be that you really can’t trust the annual Food Guidelines put out by a government. They are heavily influenced by the industries who benefit from misinformation.  What is certain is that you would be better off consulting a nutritionist to walk you through what you need to be eating to lose weight and stay healthy.

*Time Magazine Article