Make Your Voice Heard – Dietary Guidelines – Updated

USDA-HHS logosFollowing up on my previous post about the Dietary Guidelines, I wanted to give you more information about submitting comments.

I created this one-page sheet (Update – submission period has been extended to May 8) with information about the new Guidelines and why it is so important to submit comments.

I heard author and nutritionist Marion Nestle interviewed on KPFA (Up Front, Feb. 25) last week. She talked about how critical it is that the public weigh in on these guidelines. Ms. Nestle blogs at Food Politics, her latest post is not very reassuring:

Yesterday’s Hagstrom Report (daily ag newsletter) quotes USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack’s comments to the Commodity Classic on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee:

The “folks who put those reports together … have freedom. They are like my 3-year-old granddaughter. She does not have to color inside the lines.”

His 5-year-old grandson, he said, “is learning about coloring within the lines.”

“I am going to color inside the lines,” Vilsack said.

Sounds like the USDA has no intention of doing what the DGAC recommends.

For those of you who don’t want to follow the link to find out about the Commodity Classic, I did, so you don’t have to.

Commodity Classic is where America’s farmers meet with success. Commodity Classic is open to all friends of corn, soybeans, wheat and sorghum—from growers to member associations to agribusiness to farm media.  It’s a one-of-a-kind convention and trade show—farmer-focused and farmer-led.

I also found this quote from a Republican Senator from North Dakota in an article titled What’s the beef with meat? in the Dickinson (ND) Press.

Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said in response to the USDA’s guidance that the committee should focus less on environmental impacts and solely on nutritional value of meals.

“The USDA should only focus on nutrition here. No extraneous factors should be taken into consideration,” Hoeven said. “We all want to have a healthy diet, especially for our children. That’s the main point. That’s what we need to be focusing on here.”

Please distribute the information about submitting comments widely. Big Ag, the ranchers and their congressional pawns are not going to give up without a fight.


I also wanted to point you to an online form created by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) related to another part of the Guidelines and recommendations about cholesterol. PCRM is headed by Dr. Neal Barnard, author of many books including Power Foods for the Brain.

The report has also reversed decades of warnings against cholesterol. Decades of science have conclusively linked dietary cholesterol to cardiovascular disease, which kills nearly 2,200 Americans daily. The Physicians Committee is urging the USDA and DHHS to exercise its authority to reiterate prior federal recommendations that Americans limit their cholesterol intake.

In a petition filed today to the USDA and DHHS, the doctors group asks that the DGAC’s findings stating that “[c]holesterol is not a nutrient of concern for overconsumption,” be disregarded because the DGAC deferred entirely to a 2013 report by the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology and one meta-analysis of egg consumption. The reliance on the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology report does not comply with the spirit of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which sets standards for bias among federal advisory committees.

Please take the time to fill out their online form.

Sonoma County Veg Fest

Sonoma County Veg FestThe Sonoma County Veg Fest is this Saturday, August 16 from 10:00am-5:00pm in Santa Rosa, CA. The cost to attend is $5.00.

There is a great line-up of speakers including Dr. Will Tuttle, author of the best-seller The World Peace Diet and Veg Fest organizer Hope Bohanec, author of the book The Ultimate Betrayal: Is There Happy Meat?.

Along with these great speakers, cooking demonstrations and fabulous vegan food, the movie Cowspiracy will be shown at 3:00pm with a talk afterwards with Keegan Kuhn, co-director of Cowspiracy.

CowspiracyIf you live in the Bay Area or Northern California, come and join me at the Veg Fest. It will be a great time.

Mark Bittman Knows Better…

New York TimesBut doesn’t want to tell us the truth.

Mark Bittman

Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Mark Bittman has a new op-ed at the New York Times today – What Causes Weight Gain.

If I ask you what constitutes “bad” eating, the kind that leads to obesity and a variety of connected diseases, you’re likely to answer, “Salt, fat and sugar.” This trilogy of evil has been drilled into us for decades, yet that’s not an adequate answer.

We don’t know everything about the dietary links to chronic disease, but the best-qualified people argue that real food is more likely to promote health and less likely to cause disease than hyperprocessed food. And we can further refine that message: Minimally processed plants should dominate our diets. (This isn’t just me saying this; the Institute of Medicine and the Department of Agriculture agree.)

And yet we’re in the middle of a public health emergency that isn’t being taken seriously enough. We should make it a national priority to create two new programs, a research program to determine precisely what causes diet-related chronic illnesses (on top of the list is “Just how bad is sugar?”), and a program that will get this single, simple message across: Eat Real Food.

Sounds great, but wait a minute, let’s look at that last paragraph again.

“A research program to determine precisely what causes diet-related chronic illnesses” – researchers like Drs. Colin Campbell, Dean Ornish and Neal Barnard have been doing this research for decades and can tell you exactly what is causing these illnesses. What we need to do is stop letting industry-financed “research” cloud the reality of what is causing our obesity/diabetes/heart disease/stroke/cancer epidemics.

Meatonomics“A program that will get this single, simple message across: Eat Real Food” – not going to happen. The government spends millions, if not billions, on marketing meat, dairy and egg products to increase consumption and far fewer dollars promoting healthy eating. The Farm Bill recently passed by Congress includes subsidies for the meat industry and favors producers of corn and soybeans, instead of healthy fruits and vegetables. Much of that corn becomes feed for cattle and other meat products or high fructose corn syrup which winds up in the “hyperprocessed” foods American’s eat. To find out more about how our tax dollars are being spent to fatten the meat, dairy and egg industry pockets, read Meatonomics by David Robinson Simon.

In the meantime, the crisis worsens – from a Reuters article: CDC report says 29 million Americans have diabetes

The number of American adults with diabetes has soared to 29 million with another 86 million at high risk of getting the chronic disease, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Tuesday.

The CDC report, based on data from 2012, illustrated a continued worrisome rise in diabetes, which can cause serious health complications including heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, amputation of toes, feet or legs, and premature death.

If the current trends continue, federal health officials predicted that one in five Americans could have diabetes by 2025 – and one in three by 2050. The CDC said more than 12 percent of U.S adults had diabetes as of 2012.

These chronic diseases account for the dramatic rise in healthcare costs to treat these diseases, while we spend very little on prevention. From Bittman’s article

In the United States — the world’s most obese country — the most recent number for the annual cost of obesity is close to $200 billion. Obesity-related costs are incalculable but could easily exceed $1 trillion annually.

And from the Reuter’s article

“We simply can’t sustain this trajectory,” said Ann Albright, director of the CDC’s Division of Diabetes Translation.

The report said that diabetes and its related complications accounted for $245 billion in total medical costs and lost work and wages in 2012.

I don’t know about you, but these numbers are frightening. Are we happy being Number 1, when it is being the most obese country in the world?

Want to follow Mark’s advice and “Eat Real Food?” Find the websites for the researchers mentioned above in the Nutrition links section to the right and start eating a whole food, plant-based diet. Do it for your health, the health of our nation, the health of our world, but just do it.

 

Animal Protein and Cancer Linked

Animal Protein and Cancer Linked

Image courtesy of The Onion, see below for details

A new study from the University of Southern California found a link between animal protein and cancer.

In a new study that tracked a large sample of adults for nearly two decades, researchers have found that eating a diet rich in animal proteins during middle age makes you four times more likely to die of cancer than someone with a low-protein diet — a mortality risk factor comparable to smoking.

Not only is excessive protein consumption linked to a dramatic rise in cancer mortality, but middle-aged people who eat lots of proteins from animal sources — including meat, milk and cheese — are also more susceptible to early death in general, revealed the study published today in Cell Metabolism. Protein-lovers were 74 percent more likely to die of any cause within the study period than their more low-protein counterparts. They were also several times more likely to die of diabetes.

The USC research looked at other possible factors, but could not link them to cancer.

Crucially, the researchers found that plant-based proteins, such as those from beans, did not seem to have the same mortality effects as animal proteins. Rates of cancer and death also did not seem to be affected by controlling for carbohydrate or fat consumption, suggesting that animal protein is the main culprit.

This research confirms the findings of other studies published by Drs. T. Colin Campbell, Dean Ornish, Neal Barnard and others. They also found the link between animal protein and cancer. Dr. Campbell’s research found that raising the level of animal protein from 5% to 20% was enough to accelerate cancer cell growth.

The study’s main author, Valter Longo, Edna M. Jones Professor of Biogerontology at the USC Davis School of Gerontology and director of the USC Longevity Institute summarized the findings this way.

“Almost everyone is going to have a cancer cell or pre-cancer cell in them at some point. The question is: Does it progress?” Longo said. “Turns out one of the major factors in determining if it does is protein intake.”

Once again, this confirms the finding of Campbell, Ornish and others who have determined that nutrition, not genes, is the primary factor in cancer prevention and growth.

In other nutrition news, The Onion published a story about another study that “Links Meat, Sugar Consumption To Early Death Among Those Who Choose To Be Happy In Life.”

You can always count on The Onion to tell us the truth – whether we want to hear it or not. Here’s another headline

New Study Finds Nothing That Will Actually Convince You To Change Your Lifestyle So Just Forget It

Luckily, I and millions of others have made changes to our lifestyles to eat a whole food, plant-based diet to improve our health and lower our risk of chronic disease and cancer.

Contrary to The Onion, we’re happy AND healthy.

A Place at the Table

Barbie and her children

Barbie Izquierdo and her children

In America today, in the richest country in the world, as many as 50 million people are food insecure – they don’t know where there next meal is coming from or don’t have enough money to feed themselves or their families between paychecks.

Most of these food insecure Americans are working – some two or three jobs – in an effort to make ends meet. Yet, they still need assistance.

A recent film, A Place at the Table, highlights hunger in America, its long-lasting impact on children’s development and ability to learn, and how food insecurity leads to obesity. Continue reading