Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Message to Montana Lawmakers

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is supposed to be released some time this month. From start to finish, the revision process has taken over two and one half years. One wonders if it isn't becoming increasingly difficult to maintain the illusion that the Guidelines are based on reliable scientific evidence. Barring a miracle, it's doubtful the four mistakes mentioned in earlier blog posts will get corrected this time around.

For what it's worth. here is my latest message to Montana lawmakers. Actually, I wrote two versions. This one was sent to lawmakers who have already served at least one term in the House or Senate.

Dear Senator ________,

In January of 2010 I had big plans to send you lawmakers a series of monthly messages pertaining to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Shortly after I sent the second message, a February snowstorm in Washington, DC forced the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to postpone its 5th meeting for two months. Additionally, several lawmakers noted that they would not be returning to the legislature. So, I put the project on hold until after the election. As I resume sending messages, it seems wise to review my reasons for being concerned about the Guidelines. [1]

On the whole, both academia and government have failed to warn the public about the major nutritional hazards responsible for the increase in the incidence of obesity, chronic inflammatory diseases, and mental disorders, a direct consequence of the industrialization of the food supply. In the Preface to Food For Nought: The decline in nutrition Canadian biochemist Ross Hume Hall, PhD noted, "Nourishment of the American populace has undergone a startling transformation since World War II. A highly individual system of growing and marketing food has been transformed into a gigantic, highly integrated service system in which the object is not to nourish or even to feed, but to force an ever-increasing consumption of fabricated products."[2]

Food for Nought was published in 1973. The first Dietary Guidelines for Americans was issued in 1980. The latest edition, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, is scheduled for release sometime this month. Normally, it takes about a year to revise the Guidelines. This time, the process has dragged on for more than two years. [3]

Tragically, the Dietary Guidelines document is regarded as authoritative by virtually all of academia, the public health sector, and government agencies [4,5]. In fact, many nations throughout the world pattern their own public health nutrition education programs after the American model. I say this is tragic because, from the earliest version, the Guidelines contained four major mistakes. And it's doubtful they'll be corrected this time around [6].

In my next message, I'll review those mistakes and suggest a course of action for Montana lawmakers. Meanwhile, it's important to know that the most egregious error has been the failure to warn the public about the omega-6 seed oil hazard. You can familiarize yourself with some of the particulars by watching this 37 minute video presentation - or by visiting this web page - .

David Brown
1925 Belmar Dr
Kalispell, MT 59901
Nutrition Education Project


2. Excerpt: from the Preface to Food For Nought by Ross Hume Hall, PhD, 1973
Nourishment of the American populace has undergone a startling transformation since World War II. A highly individual system of growing and marketing food has been transformed into a gigantic, highly integrated service system in which the object is not to nourish or even to feed, but to force an ever-increasing consumption of fabricated products. This phenomenon is not peculiar to the American scene and occurs in every industrialized country. The United States, however, has progressed furthest in the transformation. Man can never be more than what he eats, and one would expect that a phenomenon with such profound effects on health and wellbeing as a radically changed system of supplying nourishment would be thoroughly documented and assessed by the scientific community. Such is not the case. The transformation has gone unmarked by government agencies and learned bodies. Government agencies, recipients of the public trust, charged with protecting and improving the public's food, operate as if the technology of food fabrication rested in pre-World War II days. Scientific bodies, supported by public funds and charged with assessing and improving the public's health, ignore completely the results of contemporary methods of marketing food...Failure to monitor and to appreciate the results of rapidly moving technology produces a brutal effect that forms the central theme of this book. Technology founded on mechanistic laws clashes head on with the processes of a natural world which adheres to very different laws. Modern industry, ignoring these biologic laws, molds and manipulates natural processes to suit and to promote its own mechanistic and economic goals.

3. The Long Road to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

4. 1985. HHS and USDA jointly issued a second edition of the Dietary Guidelines. This revised edition was nearly identical to the first. Some changes were made for clarity while others reflected advances in scientific knowledge of the associations between diet and a range of chronic diseases. The second edition received wide acceptance and was used as a framework for consumer education messages.

5. The Dietary Guidelines are the basis for the USDA Food Pyramid, and serve as the foundation for nutritional information for Americans. The Guidelines also strongly influence nutrition education, research funding, governmental meal programs including school lunches, as well as providing direction for the food industry, regulatory agencies, consumer advocates, and the media. They have been largely immune from criticism, perhaps a result of their wide application.

6. Abstract
Concerns that were raised with the first dietary recommendations 30 y ago have yet to be adequately addressed. The initial Dietary Goals for Americans (1977) proposed increases in carbohydrate intake and decreases in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt consumption that are carried further in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report. Important aspects of these recommendations remain unproven, yet a dietary shift in this direction has already taken place even as overweight/obesity and diabetes have increased. Although appealing to an evidence-based methodology, the DGAC Report demonstrates several critical weaknesses, including use of an incomplete body of relevant science; inaccurately representing, interpreting, or summarizing the literature; and drawing conclusions and/or making recommendations that do not reflect the limitations or controversies in the science. An objective assessment of evidence in the DGAC Report does not suggest a conclusive proscription against low-carbohydrate diets. The DGAC Report does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that increases in whole grain and fiber and decreases in dietary saturated fat, salt, and animal protein will lead to positive health outcomes. Lack of supporting evidence limits the value of the proposed recommendations as guidance for consumers or as the basis for public health policy. It is time to reexamine how US dietary guidelines are created and ask whether the current process is still appropriate for our needs.$File/Hite_Nutrition_2010.pdf