18. January 2005 · Comments Off on Eating Politically · Categories: General

Sandy Szwarc rakes the new nutrition guidelines (as well as the old ones) over the coals:

When food guides were begun over 100 years ago, the government was tasked to make recommendations on the minimum number of servings of various food groups to ensure the general population could meet the recommended dietary allowances of nutrients. People were free to choose what additional foods they wanted to enjoy to make up their energy needs. That changed in 1977 when politicians got involved and its focus became outlining the goals for federal food programs, and hence what foods would receive government funding. From then on, as a glut of special interests sought to get their piece of the money pie, it has moved further from sound science. And not surprisingly, it’s become increasingly questioned among nutrition scientists and health care professionals.

The 2005 Dietary Guidelines became untenable the instant they abandoned the long-term pledge to promote better health for all Americans and instead made everything about weight. “Weight” appears 150 times in the 84-page document. We’re told that being thin is more important than being healthy and that good nutrition isn’t just eating a healthful balance of nutritious foods. Our focus must become counting calories, restricting what we eat, eating low-fat or fat-free foods, and what size pants we wear.


Like its eating advice, the exercise advisories fail to consider harmful consequences. Injuries go up with the duration and intensity of exercise. But what’s most likely to happen with these guidelines is that people will just give up bothering to exercise at all. Those who care about their health were doing good to get in 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Now they’re being told that isn’t enough. But how realistic is 90 minutes a day for most people? And really, how many thin people do you know who work out 90 minutes every day — who aren’t obsessive? Actually these guidelines will likely increase another growing health problem, a side of eating disorders called exercise anorexia: exercising beyond that needed for health in an attempt to keep thin.

Of course, for those in the military, subject to having any aspect of their behavior under government control, these new guidelines are even more foreboding.

Hat Tip: Instapundit

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