So, I believe the USDA has come up with new recommendations sometime recently, which others have already covered, but that I’m not exactly sure when they came out, because I rarely watch/read the news. Oh well. Having studied nutrition, and nutritional advice from many many people over the last few years, I’ve come up with a hypothesis about what the big guys (USDA, Health Canada, etc.) are doing.
Ok. So way back in the day, Ancel Keys fooled everyone with his irresponsible science, and convinced those in charge that saturated fat was the devil because it raised cholesterol. I’ll save WHY this advice is completely wrong for another time, for now, just trust me that he was wrong but that it was too late and the powers that be decided to run with the “fat is the devil” paradigm.
With influences from all the wrong places, the USDA decided to create their food pyramid and tell the general public what to eat if they wanted to avoid disease and be healthy. Tonnes of grains, lots of low fat dairy, beans, monounsaturated vegetable oils, and try your best to eat lots of vegetables and fruits. Eat some meat, but don’t go crazy, and only have chicken and fish.
Well over the many years since that advice the general public has gotten fatter, and less healthy (600% more obesity since the 1960’s). Oops. So, if you put yourself in the USDA’s shoes for a moment let’s think about what you (or I) would do, or be advised to do. You just made everyone fat and unhealthy with your recommendations, and you have a pretty good idea what you did wrong. You more or less told everyone what they SHOULDN’T do, and told them NOT to do, what they should. At this point, you know you SHOULD have told them the opposite (more or less), and everyone is sick and dying because of what you said. Would you be able to just come out and say “Hey guys? Yeeeeeeah, so… my bad, can you guys eat the fats your supposed to eat, forget about the whole grains, dairy (for some) and legumes thing, and also never have vegetable oils, and more or less go back to the way you were eating before we figured out how to tell you how to eat? Thanks!” and NOT be tarred and feathered by the 50%+ of the population whose lives you’ve ruined? I didn’t think so.
So what ARE they doing. I think that they’re taking baby steps. They have to backpedal lightly. So now instead of telling you to eat 9-12 servings of grains, they say “have some whole grains”. They’re REALLY trying to push fruits and veggies. They are still very fat-phobic, except for omega 3 fats. My point being that it appears as though they are trying to correct their mistakes, without admitting guilt, and redirect our energy in a better direction. It’ll be really interesting to see where it goes in another couple decades. In the meantime, I’ll be eating the diet humans evolved to eat, and I’ll be enjoying it too.
Dr. Adam Ball