Launching the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Meetings
Revised every 5 years, the first meeting of the 2015 DGAC convened on Thursday, June 13, 2013, in Bethesda, Maryland. Four additional public meetings will be conducted during the next two years (you must register to listen in or attend). While the major media did not report on the launch, its vital national importance should not be ignored:
“The Dietary Guidelines are the cornerstone of federal nutrition policy…”
Since 1980, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have recommended a high carbohydrate, anti-fat diet. According to the Secretary of Agriculture, “Our Dietary Guidelines provide a way for the government to speak with one voice on nutrition and promoting good health.” For 30 years, the one unbending message has been: Fear fat; eat up to 65 percent of calories as carbohydrate.
The cornerstone of federal nutrition policy has been an uncritical emphasis on carbohydrates and an explicit warning against consuming what they refer to as disease-promoting dietary fat – especially “bad saturated fat.”
Age 2 and older: Limit saturated fat to fewer than 10 percent of calories – fewer than 7 percent if diabetic or at risk of heart disease. (Now 25 percent of the population)
Told to skimp on fat, we’ve loaded up on sugar, fruit, cereals and grains – the old Pyramid’s 6-11 servings a day. And while cereals, grains, and fruits raise blood sugar – filling up MyPlate – our traditional, savory fat-containing-foods do not raise blood sugar – the marker for diabetes.
Though eaten for centuries, we are told to avoid or limit coconut oil, butter, eggs, and red meat – any animal or tropical food containing the dreaded Saturates. But successive guideline committees got it wrong; in lipid science, saturated means chemically stable – nothing else. By definition, saturated fats are heat-stable and resist oxidation – not a ‘bad’ thing.
Also, there are many different saturated fats (different chain lengths). As an example, saturated stearic acid in beef and chocolate promotes HDL, so called “good cholesterol.” This puts downward pressure on triglycerides – unwanted blood fats measured in blood work as TG. You want your HDL over 60 and TG under 100, but most people won’t reach those numbers on a high carbohydrate diet.
It doesn’t take a wizard to know that obesity, type II diabetes, and Metabolic Syndrome (diabetes-related heart disease), all began to increase after 1980 – and especially after 1990. According to a recent published report, type II diabetes is at an all time high in New York City – and throughout the nation.
Diabetes-related deaths hit record levels in New York
NEW YORK — Diabetes-related deaths hit record levels in New York City in 2011, with Type 2 diabetes surging along with an epidemic of obesity, the city’s health department reported Monday …
“Since 1990, the proportion of all New York City deaths related to diabetes nearly doubled, from 6.0 percent in 1990 to 10.8 percent in 2011.”
“The trend in New York City exemplifies a nationwide problem. The number of adult diabetes sufferers has taken off in the United States since 1995, with a 50% increase in 42 states and a 100% increase in the remaining 18, US statistics show.”
2010 Dietary Guidelines
Five years ago during the first meeting of the 2010 DGAC, the Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer referred to diabetes as a “dangerous runaway train.” He urged the 2010 DGAC to address the crises head on – if only for the sake of our children. Next, Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, testified:
“Compared to 25 years ago, as the Secretary mentioned, there are roughly now three times as many overweight children. There is something particularly troubling about so many young Americans being overweight, but the problem is, by no means, limited to children …”
In spite of the Day One Secretarial rhetoric, the final 2010 Dietary Guidelines only offered up five more years of “low fat business as usual.” According to the current 2010 Dietary Guidelines, it’s okay to consume up to 25 percent of calories as sugar – the testimony of Professor Joann Slavin, Carbohydrate Chair, 2010 DGAC.
During Meeting One, Day 2, October 31, 2008, Professor Slavin testified that a calorie of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is no different than a calorie of avocado: “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie.” Slavin testified, “There was no reason to single out high fructose corn syrup as a ‘bad’ carbohydrate.” After all,
“a calorie is a calorie is a calorie …”
If “a calorie is a calorie is a calorie” continues to be the “party line,” the 2015 Dietary Guidelines will continue promoting widespread, expensive obesity, type II diabetes, kidney and heart failure, and a wide range of ever-increasing chronic degenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Now that “low fat equals good health” is entering its fourth decade – and the current guidelines must be revised – isn’t it time to ask, “Has low fat failed the test of time?” Yes, says award-winning science writer Gary Taubes. After five years of research (Good Calories, Bad Calories), Taubes says:
“The official low fat diet has had serious unintended consequences.”
Where do we go from here? – Can we influence the Committee? Please comment.
Submitting testimony: http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines