Running on Empty (Calories)
Our long wait is finally over!
Yes, it’s that time again – a USDA panel has finally unveiled a new set of proposed dietary recommendations, which Congress requires once every five years, whether we need them or not.
Looking over the new recommendations I can only come to one conclusion: Nope. We didn’t need them.
Wake up America!
As is almost always the case, the recommendations land somewhere between mildly irritating and downright ludicrous.
On a recent segment of Good Morning America, co-host Robin Roberts interviewed Dr. Richard Besser who walked us through the new recommendations.
The biggest change is an emphasis on plant foods. The idea is to remove empty calories to make room for nutritious calories from fruits and vegetables. That’s actually a good idea, as long as you don’t dismiss fats as empty calories.
And guess what Dr. Besser does?
Dr. Besser notes that all those bad empty calories come from fats and added sugars, and adds, “That’s our ribs, that’s our bacon, that’s our butter.”
So, first he groups fats (which your body can’t survive without) with added sugars (which is unnecessary junk). Then, for examples of empty calories he mentions three sources of…fats.
He didn’t mention candy, baked treats, kids’ cereals or the thousands of gallons of soda consumed in the U.S. daily. He only mentioned fats.
Get the picture? Fats are bad. And thanks to TV “experts” like Dr. Besser and others like him, the mainstream demonization of fats will be with us for years to come.
And Robin Roberts plays right along. Her response: “They’re not talking about making us all vegetarians, which wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing anyway.”
Actually, Robin, that would be a bad thing. Because then our diets would be missing the fats needed to assimilate critical fat soluble vitamins (such as A, D, E, and K), as well as the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin B-12.
Nutritionist Douglass Husbands got it right when he told AOL Health that what people really need is specific information that would help them make choices between good fats and bad fats.
Good idea, but there’s no way we could depend on a USDA panel to make the distinction between good fats and bad fats. In the new recommendations, the panel notes that American’s aren’t consuming enough low-fat milk products!
Besides the fact that milk consumption should be kept to a minimum (unless you’re trying to get more antibiotics and growth hormones in your diet), Dr. Allan Spreen points out that the skimming process that creates low-fat milk actually makes the nutrients harder to absorb.
But I guess any real scientific nutritional information would be too hard for the USDA to absorb…sigh…
To Your Good Health,
“Nutritionists: New U.S. Dietary Recommendations No Magic Bullet” Catherine Donaldson-Evans, AOL Health, 6/16/10, aolhealth.com
“Dietary Guidelines for Americans” USDA, 6/15/10, cnpp.usda.gov