Why is the Standard American Diet (SAD) so sad? My comment on the Dietary Guidelines Report 2015

Dietary Guidelines for Americans is an important document, which has a big influence on our nation’s food & nutrition policies (including school lunch programs), as well as on the food industry. After all, given that most of the country runs (most of the time) on processed foods, the grocery manufacturers have a lot of power in their hands. As people in the USA seem to be relying more on food labels (instead of their inner wisdom or even traditions) to tell them what is “healthy” or nutritious, all that food manufacturers need to do is just reformulate the non-nutritious junk on the supermarket shelves (along with re-wording their labels and health claims).  10% less of “this” or “that”? “Now without artificial colors”? Added vitamins A, C, D & E? “Made with whole grains”? All of these might sound like a good thing to the average consumer, but in reality we could not be further from the truth.

As long as the Dietary Guidelines fail to make the most important of all differences, to talk Loud & Clear about what food IS, and what food IS NOT, for so long the “epidemics” that the country is struggling with will prevail. In the upcoming days, weeks & months (until HHS & USDA will issue the final Dietary Guidelines 2015, due sometime later this year), you will hear me speaking more about these Guidelines & about why we are where we are.

Here you can have access to all of the Written Comments (both by public/individuals as well as food manufacturers) on this years Report:  http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2015/comments/readComments.aspx

Before the Guidelines are finalized, HHS & USDA are supposed to take into account these comments. In my future posts I will speak more about the polarized and clashing view that can be seen both is the comments and that I also witnessed at the Public Meeting in Bethesda.

For now, here is my comment I submitted to the Federal Government on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Report 2015. (I would love to have a discussion and hear your thoughts! Whoever you are, and however you found your way on my site, I am looking forward to connect with you!). WE ALL EAT. And even more so : WE ARE ALL PART OF THE WHOLE.

Comment ID #29812
Thank you for the opportunity to provide a comment on the DGAC Report 2015.
I would like to start off by saying that I am writing this comment first and foremost as a human being who feels the need to speak up. Secondly, due to my passion towards food, nutrition & health as well as out of respect towards the people who are growing our food, the real way. All the people who are part of the food revolution that is currently taking place all across the US.
My comment comes in 2 parts and it is meant to complement my Public Oral Testimony that I provided at the DGAC public meeting on March 24.
I do not work in the medical field nor do I have a PhD in Food Sciences. I do not represent the beverage association, meat, dairy or any other industry. I don’t have an agenda and I don’t have a product to sell. As an individual I am not worried about loosing profit. What I am worried about – is our loss of integrity & courage as a society in whole.
Isn’t it about time we stop the battle between different food industries, the childish game of “who is right” and “who is wrong”, removing one food group or highlighting another one like we’ve done in the past decades? As we have seen –it has not brought the change we are saying we want to accomplish.
If we truly do wish to stop and reverse the conditions that the American nation as a whole is currently faced with, we need to work collaboratively to bring about this change in culture. And this change starts with emphasizing what “food is” and what “food is not”.
The Dietary Guidelines is an important document with a huge influence. It is not just a piece of recommendations to the public that they may or may not follow – (and I can tell you that the majority of the population does not even know what the Guidelines are and that they exist). On the other hand, the policies and programs that are based on the most recent Guidelines have a very direct effect on people’s health. For example: FDA Nutrition Facts & other labeling programs, National School Lunch Program (NSLP), the School Breakfast Program (SBP) – just a few examples to make us realize how much weight the Guidelines have. Therefore it is of utmost importance that we “do the right thing”.
If the Dietary Guidelines really want to create the “culture of health” that the Committee is talking about – it has to give clear, simple & sound information that the aforementioned entities can build their programs & regulations on. Currently school breakfasts and lunches seem like a nutritional nightmare, as well as food served at hospitals. The system is in need of a real big change.
The Guidelines is a complex document, and many factors contribute to whether it will be a success or not. There are many parties involved & whether we choose to say it out loud or not – these parties have conflicting interests. But we should not forget: we can only succeed if ALL parties involved want to succeed. And to be honest – I am not too sure if ALL parties do.
Let’s face the facts: the Current Standard American Diet is truly what it name says: SAD.
“America’s National Eating Disorder” (as would say Michael Pollan) starts in the early childhood.
We live in a culture where the first ingredient in the Infant Formula that is advertised to consumers as “#1 Brand Fed in Hospitals” and “Recommended by Pediatricians” is corn syrup, followed by sugar (?) and soybean oil. Is that really what we choose to feed our newborns? Is that the best we can do? Does the fact that it contains 2% of  “added vitamins and mineral” really make it a healthy choice?
If we want to say that “the science is clear” – (to reformulate what many people have started off their comments before me) I think that there is only ONE thing the science is clear about :
Whole, real foods are good for us ; highly processed food-products are not good for us.
FOOD does not come out of a can or box, it does not have a long list of non-evolutionary ingredients. Yes, we can approach it from the “we can eat everything in moderation”. But, the current Standard American Diet is almost entirely made out processed foods, and that is not what in moderation means.
The sad thing is that on one hand the Government is supporting low-quality cheap industrial foods by subsidizing the 3 biggest crops, wheat, corn and soy (or as I would call them, “crap-crops”) that make up most of the processed foods, in one form or another. Might it be the flours, isolates, fillers, starches, soybean or corn oil or the feed that goes to industrially raised animals and dairy that the majority of the US consumes. On the other hands they are trying to deal with the consequences. Seems a little counter-intuitive to me, even absurd. Not to you?
How about we address the root of the problem and stop using a band aid over and over again on a different spot? How about we stop this nonsense?
I think we can do better. Our responsibility as humans is to do better.
Thank You.


Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization: Back Yet Forward
Part A: Executive Summary

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