USDA Guidelines, Parents Magazine, and You

14 Feb


image courtesy of Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Society

I usually find most conventional nutritional advice to be somewhat amusing, considering that a lot of it is driven by financial interest and not health. I’m not an expert by any stretch, but even with my limited knowledge I can see through most nutritional campaigns. What’s upsetting is that some of it can be potentially dangerous since most people don’t spend much time researching nutrition on their own and rely on easy-to-read columns and the like. I stumbled upon this article on Parents magazine entitled 10 Things You Need to Know About the New USDA Guidelines and found it so repulsive that I had to comment each of its assumptions.

1. Lower Your Sodium
Fair enough. We definitely eat too much sodium-filled fast food and our overall salt intake is definitely too high.

2. Make the Switch to Fat-Free or 1% Milk
This point asserts that any child over the age of two should switch to low fat milk. Although I agree that children should be weaned from milk eventually (our son turns two tomorrow but we’re not planning on taking it away anytime soon), the fat in milk is one of its most vital properties because it helps develop brain growth, among other things.

3. Eat More Seafood
Agreed, especially Omega-3 rich fish like sardines and anchovies.

4. Consume More Whole Grains
Nope. Cereal grains (wheat, rye, barley among others) should be avoided, and even considered toxic.

5. Cut Down on Saturated Fats
This step specifically says we should cut down on animal products and eggs. How is that possible, considering that we’ve been eating animal products for millions of years? Here is a nice guide (among many) on saturated fats.

6. Lower Your Dietary Cholesterol Consumption
Studies have shown only oxidized cholesterol is dangerous, while all others are essential to life. And guess what contributes to oxidation? High polyunsaturated fat consumption from seed oils and excess fructose consumption, two of the very things that are encouraged in this article. It should also be noted that saturated fats derived from animals is not oxidizable. Again, more info here.

7. Reduce Added Sugars
I agree.

8. Fight Fat
“Use oils to replace solid fats like butter, tallow, shortening and margarine.” – this is bonkers, and the most infuriating part of this whole article. First of all, natural products like butter and tallow shouldn’t be in the same sentence as frankenstein foods like shortening and margarine. A good counterpoint to this whole garbage is here.

9. Eat More Fruit
Yes and no. Berries are good for their anti-oxidant properties, but most modern fruits are just pure sugar.

10. Eat Your Vegetables!
Agreed.

End result: I agree with four out of ten of these “helpful” points. So basically, our Nation’s leader in nutrition can be easily debunked 60% of the time by a layperson like myself. Does anyone else see something wrong here?

3 Responses to “USDA Guidelines, Parents Magazine, and You”

  1. J. @ kawaiikitchen April 12, 2011 at 6:25 pm #

    Really interesting post! thanks for sharing.
    I found your blog via freshly pressed – congratulations by the way – and I’m impressed, I’ll definitely follow your next posts ;)

    • Russ Crandall April 12, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

      Thanks! I peeked at your site and you take some great pictures. I also love Japanese food (my wife is Japanese), but since going wheat-free about six months ago, most of my favorite Japanese dishes (katsu, curry, tempura) can’t be made traditionally, and I’m still trying to figure out good-tasting alternatives… :(

  2. Stefanie February 18, 2014 at 5:15 pm #

    Over the last 2 months, I have begun to make the change to a Paleo diet to help with my MS and my husband’s diagnosis of a fatty liver (mind you he has never had a drink in his life!). So far I’m happy to report only great news! We are both mind boggeld by the US reports on diets and how it has lead to some of the issues..thanks for this post

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