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The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are coming ...

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Without major media coverage, the revision of the current 2005 “low fat” federal Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been underway since October 2008. A 13-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has completed all six (6) scheduled meetings. The new, revised guidelines are due out this summer, but don’t expect any major changes – and  “low fat business as usual” will remain the law of the land.

America’s diabetes epidemic has not been specifically addressed. (Meeting transcripts at 2010 dietary guidelines.) Although the CDC in Atlanta has referred to diabetes as a “dangerous runaway train,” a reading of the meeting transcripts reveals no discussion about the foods like flour and sugar (carbohydrates) that raise blood sugar and insulin levels – the “Twin Tower” common denominators of obesity and diabetes.

In the transcripts, carbohydrate chairperson Dr. Joanne L. Slavin, PhD, RD, Professor, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, declined to single out sugar or high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) as “bad carbohydrates.” According to Dr. Slavin, … ”High fructose corn sweeteners do not appear to contribute to overweight and obesity any differently from other energy sources. Critical reviews in Food, Science and Nutrition state that calories are calories and high fructose corn sweeteners are no different than other calories, calorie per calorie…”

Dr. Slavin, chosen as “carbohydrate chair” as a result of her research in carbohydrates and dietary fiber at the University of Minnesota, defended high fructose corn syrup and reported that we can consume “up to 25 percent of our calories as sugar.” Saying essentially the same thing, the Corn Refiners Association (i.e, Cargill) is “targeting mothers” in their current $30 million TV ad campaign reassuring Americans that HFCS is:  “Made from corn, has no artificial ingredients, is fine in moderation, and is no more fattening than sugar.”

Apparently, because Cargill gives millions to the University of Minnesota (there is a Cargill Building on the “farm campus”) and a University of Minnesota professor chairs the carbohydrate committee, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans will not discuss the role of carbohydrates in raising blood sugar and insulin levels, predisposing tens of millions to obesity and diabetes.

To insist that  “a calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie” in the midst of an ever-worsening national diabetes epidemic is a betrayal of the very purpose of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:  To protect us from accelerating chronic disease. Because carbohydrates uniquely raise blood sugar, not warning Americans away from those easily-digested, empty-calorie, refined starches and sugars puts more and more fuel into the engine of America’s high speed, out of control – runaway train.   

The Dietary Guidelines, the “cornerstone of federal nutrition policy,” are revised every fice years jointly by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) and provide:  “Authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.” The guidelines shape the Food Guide Pyramid and are the basis of all federal food progams, including school breakfast and lunches, food stamps, and WIC – poor women with infant children.

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    • Anonymous

      Given the size of the diabetes epidemic – affecting up to 75 million Americans – how can the federal government conduct six meetings on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the words “blood sugar” and “elevated insulin” are not thoroughly discussed? Apparently Big Food” is so powerful they can hand-pick Dr. Joanne Slavin from the University of Minnesota and instruct her to resist any attempts by the full committee to single out excess sugar and high fructose corn syrup as causes of diabetes? How bad does diabetes have to become before our dietary guidelines warns us about easily-digested refined carbs? Instead we’re warned not to eat protein-rich, nutrient dense eggs? Go figure!

    • Anonymous

      Great post!

      Thanks for “shining light” on a dark subject. I am a diabetic who weaned off drugs and insulin by eating a Very Low Carb, paleo style meal plan. Since I abandoned the ADA meal plan I have normal BG, BP and cholesterol.

      While I do appreciate the post… it saddens me that the ship of Conventional Wisdom has not appeared to move one inch in the right direction. The future is NOT brighter from my point of view.

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