I’m back from vacation and eager to continue my daily mission of disrupting the nutritional status quo! On that note, I recently asked my mother-in-law, who is 74, what she knows about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). She said she wasn’t sure what they were but that she thought it meant eating lots of whole wheat bread, vegetables and fruit, lean chicken breast, tuna and low-fat milk, and to stay away from eggs and butter because they can cause a heart attack. Unfortunately, her idea of fresh fruit is canned fruit drowned in a pool of high fructose corn syrup. She dutifully downs a tall glass of Sunny Delight orange juice every morning and a bowl of corn flakes with low-fat milk. But there is something else that she also swallows every morning, i.e. a 500mg tablet of a prescription blood-sugar lowering medication called Metformin, which is akin to taking a hangover pill with your tequila shots! It is noteworthy that since she started “eating healthy” and gave up eggs & bacon for breakfast 10 years ago, she is now officially a non-Insulin dependent Type II diabetic and her cholesterol numbers are even worse than they were a decade ago, so now her doctor has also put her on a statin, which increases the probability that she will develop dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease! Good times, right?
Meanwhile, she refuses to listen to any of my dietary recommendations, in spite of my two college degrees in nutrition science that now hang on the wall, because she’s absolutely convinced that her physician, who received a grand total of 1 week of nutrition education 30 years ago in med school, knows more about healthy nutrition than her son-in-law because, as we all know, doctors are all-knowing and infallible!
In my opinion, a much better approach to implementing government-sponsored nutritional guidelines would be to disseminate a comprehensive list of processed foods and ingredients (especially those containing refined sugars) that people should try to avoid entirely, but of course that will never happen while the FDA and USDA are allowed to continue to prioritize the economic interests of Big Agra and Big Food over the health of consumers, while maintaining the illusion that they actually care about our well being by propagating spurious manipulative initiatives such as the DGA. Not to mention that a healthier generation of Americans would also detrimentally impact the bottom line of Big Pharma, corporate entities that have nothing to gain and everything to lose from Americans’ improving their health. They need us alive but sick, so they give us drugs that do just that, instead of making us healthy. They profit from treating symptoms, not from curing diseases that were preventable in the first place. What we have in today is a disease care system, not a health care system! The only people who have anything to lose in this socioeconomic equation is the health insurance companies, but they don’t care because they’ll just keep raising our insurance rates to keep themselves in the black, so in the end it is we the public who end up paying for all the evolutionarily-mismatched DGA recommendations that only protect the economic health of the agricultural industry, not the physical health of consumers. It is for this reason that my eyes glaze over when someone says to me, “I try to eat healthy” or “I try to eat clean”. These are both meaningless phrases if we cannot accurately and meaningfully define adjectives such as “healthy” and “clean”, a topic which I will cover in greater detail in future posts.