October 17, 2015

Speak Up for Science-Based Nutritional Guidelines

Since Adam and I started dating, I’ve had to get used to feeding a four year old – and the responsibility of making sure that he eats nutritious, balanced meals is one I don’t take lightly. It’s tough when kids are picky eaters, but what’s even harder is figuring out exactly what we should be feeding them.

The USDA food pyramid calls for 6-11 servings of grains, 3-5 servings of vegetables, 2-4 servings of fruit, 2-3 servings of dairy, and 2-3 servings of meat/beans/eggs/nuts per day – and they suggest eating fats sparingly.

Anyone else remember this? Unfortunately, it’s highly outdated.

I loved the food pyramid when I was a kid – I thought it was so fun to count up what I was eating and see if I met the recommendations. These days, though, I think it’s pretty terrible. (And the 2011 revision to MyPlate wasn’t really much better.) I’m no nutritionist, but I’m not the only one who disagrees, and this month, the House of Agriculture Committee met to discuss creating some new recommendations. In the past 30 years, adult obesity weights in the US have doubled, and they are projected to rise to 50 percent by 2030. That is absolutely insane! Clearly, the recommendations aren’t working, either because they are wrong or because people aren’t listening to them. Either way, an overhaul is in order.

When the House of Agriculture Committee met two weeks ago, some major concerns were raised. Specifically, Chairman Conaway said, “The advisory committee went far beyond its scope when advising on issues such as food sustainability and tax policy – areas in which the committee does not have expertise, evidence, or charter. Consumers should be able to trust the science behind DGA without fear of political or personal bias influencing each recommendation.” I completely agree with that statement! It is frustrating to me that dietary guidelines could be influenced by anything other than nutrition standards. Unfortunately, it’s becoming very evident that guidelines are being developed without the full backing of actual scientific data.

So many of the guidelines have flip flopped back and forth over the last few years: avoid eggs due to cholesterol; no, wait, they have great nutrients. Eat margarine instead of butter; no, wait, margarine is full of terrible chemicals. I definitely am of the school of thought that most whole foods shouldn’t be forbidden in the first place! And while I’m not someone who believes that you should go entirely wheat-free or gluten-free (see my review of Wheat Belly here), I think the US Dietary Guidelines include way too many servings of grains… probably because of lobbyists/politics. I’m not naive enough to think that lobbying doesn’t happen, but that is still so frustrating! I think a low-carb, whole foods approach is a great way to lose weight, particularly since eating low-carb requires you to cut out the crappy processed carbs so many of us eat. Unrefined, nutrient-foods are important – even my well-researched friends at Greatist have picked up on the rallying cry.

So, I’d like to encourage all of you to sign this Change.org petition, which advocates for the US Dietary Guidelines to take into consideration quality, scientific data to help combat obesity in America. Specifically, robust clinical studies show us that eating more sugar and starches puts people at risk for weight gain and nutrition-related health issues (like diabetes) – but that science isn’t acknowledged in the recommendations. Let’s start asking for quality dietary that recognize the insights of newer, better, and credible science.

I would really love it if you would join me in signing this petition. Click here to speak up and tell the U.S. Government to start basing our Dietary Guidelines on the full array of science.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post; however, I would never have put my name on a petition I didn’t believe in. I welcome any debate in the comments, and look forward to hearing your opinions on this important topic!


2 thoughts on “Speak Up for Science-Based Nutritional Guidelines”

  1. Let me tell you how closely I looked at that pyramid to see if corn was on there anywhere 🙂 🙂

    I am pretty quick to admit that I used the pyramid as the guide up until about 8 months ago – give or take. I struggle with what was good in the past is not good now. BUT, cigarettes were also once handed out as an energy aid and asbestos was a pretty great insulator (still is, for what it is worth). So, I am trying hard to make changes to the new line of thinking. 33.5 years of midwestern training is hard to forget.

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