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2010 Dietary Guidelines Released - Too little too late for the diabetes epidemic

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At 10:00 am on Tuesday, June 15th, the Advisory Report of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines was announced jointly by the US Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS). A 30-day public comment period commences, and final 2010 Dietary Guidelines will be released by the end of the year.

The 13-member Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is charged with providing Americans “the latest, science-based nutritional and dietary guidance. But will the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines identify the causes of obesity and provide sound nutritional advice to the 75 million Americans who are diabetic or pre-diabetic?

Will the guidelines discuss the unique ability of carbohydrates to elevate blood sugar and insulin levels? Will the guidelines help us prevent and reverse obesity and type 2 diabetes, now referred to as “dangerous runaway trains” by the CDC in Atlanta?

Not likely. In the hundreds of pages of transcripts, the words “blood sugar” do not appear during any of the six DGAC meetings. You can expect the DGAC report to emphasize carbohydrates – up to 65 percent of calories – and to bash fats, especially those “solid fats” accused of causing heart disease. The Report will say:

1. Enriched and fortified grains provide important nutrients; individuals are encouraged to consume grains as both fiber-rich whole grains and enriched.

2. Cereal fiber protects against cardiovascular disease.

3. Added sugars, as in sugar-sweetened beverages, are no more likely to cause weight gain than any other source of energy. After all, “A calorie, is a calorie, is a calorie.”

4. Sugar is okay up to 25 percent of calories (see above).

5. A calorie of high fructose corn syrup (HFC) is no different than any other calorie.

6. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables; they are nutrient-dense and relatively low in calories.

7. There’s no conclusive proof that we should rate carbohydrates by how fast they release sugar into the blood. (We must wait until 2015 to learn about the Glycemic Index and Glycemic Load).

8. Limit dietary cholesterol to less than 300 milligrams a day – 200 mg a day if you already have diabetes or heart disease. That means no protein-rich eggs for breakfast!

9. Limit saturated fat to no more than 10 percent of calories – 7 percent if you already have diabetes or heart disease. Chemically stable saturated fats are “bad;” highly processed chemically unstable soybean and conola oil are “good.”

10. To lose weight, we must achieve “energy balance” by balancing calories consumed with calories expended. That means you go on a semi-starvation diet or conduct potentially dangerous daily strenuous exercise.

Sound familiar? It should – these are the same “low fat” dietary recommendations now associated with record levels of obesity and diabetes. According to the federal government itself, the surge in obesity and diabetes occurred after 1980 – when Americans were told that dietary fat is dangerous and that carbohydrates are good for the heart and good for weight control.

For five more years, Food Stamps, WIC vouchers, and school breakfasts and lunches for 31 million school children will continue to restrict fat and emphasize carbohydrates, up to 25 percent of calories as sugar.

And despite recent scientific evidence finding no link between saturated fat and risk of developing heart disease (Dr. Ronald Krauss, meta-analysis, Am J Clin Nutr, January 13, 2010), the 30-year prohibition against saturated fat will continue. Unlike carbohydrates, fats do not raise blood sugar, providing satiety and a brake on rising blood sugar.

Dietary Guidelines that do not mention “blood sugar” will not stop the “dangerous runaway train.” Instead, we are facing a government, medical, and academic elite afraid to step on the toes of the giant U.S. food processing industry. Ignoring a lot of recent scientific studies, the 13-member DGAC is selecting data that support the “low fat” status quo.

You can almost hear some committee members saying, “Gee, this doesn’t sound right – 25 percent of calories as sugar – but that’s where the science is…” – because that’s where the money is!

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    • Robert Su, MD

      The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee should be held accountable for individual’s damages as a result of its ill advice.

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