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Egg on Their Faces - Government dietary advice often proves disastrous.
City Journal ^ | Summer 2010 | Steven Malanga

Posted on 07/30/2010 8:00:29 PM PDT by neverdem

Every five years, the federal Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services revise their Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a publication that sets the direction for federal nutrition-education programs. In an age when aggressive government agencies in places like New York City seek a greater hand in shaping Americans’ diets, the next set of guidelines, published later this year, could prove more controversial than usual because increasing scientific evidence suggests that some current federal recommendations have simply been wrong. Will a public-health establishment that has been slow to admit its mistakes over the years acknowledge the new research and shift direction? Or will it stubbornly stick to its obsolete guidelines?

The crux of the controversy is the quantity of fat and carbohydrates that we consume and how it influences our cardiac health. As a recent review of the latest research in Scientific American pointed out, ever since the first set of federal guidelines appeared in 1980, Americans heard that they had to reduce their intake of saturated fat by cutting back on meat and dairy products and replacing them with carbohydrates. Americans dutifully complied. Since then, obesity has increased sharply, and the progress that the country has made against heart disease has largely come from medical breakthroughs like statin drugs, which lower cholesterol, and more effective medications to control blood pressure.

Researchers have started asking hard questions about fat consumption and heart disease, and the answers are startling. In an analysis of the daily food intake of some 350,000 people published in the March issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found no link between the amount of saturated fat that a person consumed and the risk of heart disease. One reason, the researchers speculate, is that saturated fat raises levels of so-called good, or HDL, cholesterol, which may offset an accompanying rise in general cholesterol. A few weeks later, researchers at Harvard released their own analysis of data from 20 studies around the world, concluding that those who eat four ounces of fresh (not processed) red meat every day face no increased risk of heart disease.

According to Scientific American, growing research into carbohydrate-based diets has demonstrated that the medical establishment may have harmed Americans by steering them toward carbs. Research by Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, concludes that diets rich in carbohydrates that are quickly digestible—that is, with a high glycemic index, like potatoes, white rice, and white bread—give people an insulin boost that increases the risk of diabetes and makes them far more likely to contract cardiovascular disease than those who eat moderate amounts of meat and fewer carbs. Though federal guidelines now emphasize eating more fiber-rich carbohydrates, which take longer to digest, the incessant message over the last 30 years to substitute carbs for meat appears to have done significant damage. And it doesn’t appear that the government will change its approach this time around. The preliminary recommendations of a panel advising the FDA on the new guidelines urge people to shift to “plant-based” diets and to consume “only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.”

The public-health establishment has been sluggish about reversing course before. Starting in the 1970s, for instance, the American Heart Association advised people to reduce drastically their consumption of eggs as part of a goal to limit total cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams a day (a single egg can have 250 milligrams). The recommendation, seconded by government and other public-health groups, prompted a sharp drop in the consumption of eggs, a food that nutritionists praise as low in calories and high in nutrients. In 2000, the AHA revised its restrictions on eggs to one a day (from a onetime low of three a week), but it also recommended reducing consumption of other cholesterol-heavy foods to compensate. Similarly, the federal government’s dietary guidelines still recommend intake of no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol daily, which makes egg consumption difficult unless one excludes most other animal products. To what purpose? A 2004 article in The Journal of Nutrition that looked at worldwide studies of egg consumption noted that the current restrictions on eating eggs are “unwarranted for the majority of people and are not supported by scientific data.”

More and more, the history of dietary guidelines that our public-health authorities promulgate resembles the Woody Allen comedy Sleeper, in which the main character, awaking from a centuries-long slumber, learns that every food we once thought bad for us is actually good, starting with steak and chocolate. But you wouldn’t know that from government experts’ increasing efforts to nudge us into their approved diets. In 2006, New York City passed the nation’s first ban on the use of trans fats by restaurants, and other cities followed suit, though trans fats constitute just 2 percent of Americans’ caloric intake. Now the Bloomberg administration is trying to push food manufacturers nationwide to reduce their use of salt—and the nutrition panel advising the FDA on the new guidelines similarly recommends reducing salt intake to a maximum of 1,500 milligrams daily (down from 2,300 a day previously). Yet Dr. Michael Alderman, a hypertension specialist at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, observed in the New York Times that because sodium is an essential component of our diets, the city’s effort amounts to a giant uncontrolled experiment with the public’s health that could have unintended consequences. And in 2006, Harvard Medical School professor Norman Hollenberg concluded that while some people benefit from reduced salt intake, the evidence “is too inconsistent and generally too small to mandate policy decisions at the community level.”

As increasingly sophisticated medicine focuses on tailoring therapies to individual needs, sweeping public pronouncements on health have become outdated at best and dangerous at worst. The best advice that government can give citizens is to develop their own diet and exercise regimes, adapted to their own physical circumstances after consultation with their doctors.

Steven Malanga is the senior editor of City Journal and a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute. He is the author of the forthcoming Shakedown: The Continuing Conspiracy Against the American Taxpayer.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: carbs; diet; dietaryguidelines; eggs; health; heart; heartdisease; nannystate; publichealth
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1 posted on 07/30/2010 8:00:32 PM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

Good article, heart disease is the result of magnesium definciency. Many folks who have heart attacks have no block, no blocked veins, they die from the lack of Mag, such a shame, I use CALM Magnesium, love the stuff.

Great article, thanks for posting ...

2 posted on 07/30/2010 8:03:04 PM PDT by Scythian
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To: Scythian

Oh, one more thing, the drastic increase in skin cancer is the result of sun block which until 2 years ago only block UVB’s but not UVA’s. This meant you were getting the harmful rays and blocking the good ones that build Vitamin D (UVB’s). In fact, it’s better to go without sun block and just limit the sun, but a good color is healthy. Another recommendation that causes the death of 100’s of thousands ...

3 posted on 07/30/2010 8:06:57 PM PDT by Scythian
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To: neverdem

A huge fundamental problem is that it’s all about experimentation, no proof of long term benefit. Now the idiots in the government are looking to the entertainment industry for ideas on how to ‘better’ our lives.

As if following the advice of those headcases has ever been a good idea.

4 posted on 07/30/2010 8:17:25 PM PDT by Niuhuru (The Internet is the digital AIDS; adapting and successfully destroying the MSM host.)
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To: Repeat Offender

For later reading.

5 posted on 07/30/2010 8:22:21 PM PDT by Repeat Offender (The buck, it seems, never gets to Obama; a surprise considering how many they print)
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To: Scythian
Correct, on both posts. I have worked in healthcare. In every facility I have ever seen, there is a nutritionist and recommended diets and menus. You would think the workers and residents (where there are residents) would be fit and trim. Not so, the majority of both are obese after a year or two.

Milk also, we have been told for years to drink skim or lowfat (1%, 2%) The result? Calcium and vitamin d deficiencies, both of which cause major problems. We have a population of middle aged and elderly people with osteoporosis and brittle bones.

Like MO, these people do not know what they are talking about.

6 posted on 07/30/2010 8:23:14 PM PDT by gidget7 ("When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Niuhuru
A huge fundamental problem is that it’s all about experimentation, no proof of long term benefit. Now the idiots in the government are looking to the entertainment industry for ideas on how to ‘better’ our lives.

The "benefit" in all these cases is for those very idiots in government, because whichever way the cat jumps, they get more power and a cushy, no-fail job out of it.

7 posted on 07/30/2010 8:23:50 PM PDT by thulldud (Is it "alter or abolish" time yet?)
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To: neverdem

Perhaps one should eat what one craves, in moderation, of course.

8 posted on 07/30/2010 8:25:13 PM PDT by stayathomemom (Beware of cat attacks while typing!)
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To: gidget7

The problems from milk is that without the fat, there is a mal-absobtion created of both calcium and vitamin d.

9 posted on 07/30/2010 8:25:46 PM PDT by gidget7 ("When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself as public property." Thomas Jefferson)
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To: thulldud

It’s the Mandarin class that destroyed China and it’s our bureaucrats who are going to destroy the US.

10 posted on 07/30/2010 8:28:43 PM PDT by Niuhuru (The Internet is the digital AIDS; adapting and successfully destroying the MSM host.)
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To: Scythian

What’s this about magnesium?

11 posted on 07/30/2010 8:36:51 PM PDT by A_perfect_lady (I can see November from my house.)
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To: neverdem

The French Paradox.

I’ve been taking cooking classes and learning some French dishes. Tons of butter, eggs, cheese, cream — and salt. The French are big meat eaters and love their sauces. I’ve been eating smaller portions of rich, wonderful, satisfying food, and I’ve lost just under twenty pounds and had my blood pressure go down. Last time BP was this low I was in my early 30s. I sure enjoy my veggies more when they’ve got some garlic butter on them. Go figure.

We’ll see what happens with my cholesterol next blood test.

12 posted on 07/30/2010 8:41:20 PM PDT by Snake65 (Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace-- but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!)
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To: neverdem

I love these threads.

sergeantdave’s food pyramid:

1) steaks

2) potato chips

3) bourbon

4) gooey chocolate fudge to attract the ladies

5) beer

6) more beer when No. 5 is depleted

7) chocolate chip cookies to keep the ladies around when No. 4 runs out

8) cigars

9) Wine for the ladies when No. 7 runs out

10) a seeing eye dog to find our way to the outhouse

13 posted on 07/30/2010 8:49:18 PM PDT by sergeantdave
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To: Scythian
heart disease is the result of magnesium definciency.

Source please?

14 posted on 07/30/2010 9:09:49 PM PDT by neverdem (Xin loi minh oi)
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To: Scythian
Another recommendation that causes the death of 100’s of thousands ...

I don't know. Aren't the vast majority of skin cancer deaths due to melanoma, where sun exposure isn't a big factor? Many skin cancers are downright benign (I know, sort of a contradiction).

I had a suspicious thing on my arm that I visited the doctor about. He said it could well be on of those two types with the funny names. He recommended I don't take any more than a year see if it goes a way, and that most sun related skin cancers take around seven years to metastasize.

15 posted on 07/30/2010 9:13:56 PM PDT by Minn (Here is a realistic picture of the prophet: ----> ([: {()
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To: gidget7

Only people who own cows and/or milking machines want you to drink milk.

Sun block creams interfere with your creating Vitamin D when sun interacts on your skin. The D used by the body in calcium absorption to create strong bones.

No way companies that cater to breakfast are going to allow that meal to be skipped (the body works quite efficiently on an empty stomach as blood flow is free from the confines of digestion).

16 posted on 07/30/2010 9:38:16 PM PDT by Razzz42
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To: neverdem

Government and the medical profession will both be very slow to admit past bad advice, and government will probably be especially slow, or glacial, since a truly healthy diet rich in protein, eggs dairy, and fresh fruits and vegetables will not fit their new green revolution goals. The rich carbohydrates, sugar, wheat, rice, corn, etc., just aren’t good for us as a major part of our diets.

17 posted on 07/30/2010 9:53:38 PM PDT by Will88
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To: Will88

My husband underwent triple bypass surgery last September. Of course they put him on a strict heart healthy diet. The food was so bad, I wouldn’t feed it to my dog. But anyway when he went back for checkups, his chlolesteral levels were good. Then he just refused to stay on the diet. Went back to smoking, eating whatever he wanted and drinking whole milk and tons of sodas and his chlolesteral levels haven’t changed a bit. I eat whatever I please and never gain weight and I am very healthy. I think they are full of fecal matter.

18 posted on 07/30/2010 10:37:24 PM PDT by beckysueb (January 20, 2013. When Obama becomes just a skidmark on the panties of American history.)
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It ain’t the carbs. It’s the processed foods that are the basis of the US diet. High sugar, high fructose corn syrup in every damn thing, and highly refined flours are not good for you and not what our forefathers ate.

Personally, I don’t eat meat, but there is a big difference between 4 oz of meat a day and the tons of meat, cheese, and dairy that so many people eat daily. Keeping it down to 8 oz a week, would be even better.

I’m not a big fan of wholesale prescribing of statins either. I’m not sure the jury is in one that one yet. And not everyone can take them, they make my blood sugars go sky high, but they sure are prescribed for everybody without much thought.

19 posted on 07/30/2010 11:01:00 PM PDT by radiohead (Buy ammo, get your kids out of government schools, pray for the Republic.)
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To: neverdem
The government medicine food pyramid was pushed through by George McGovern during the Carter Administration. The onset of epidemic obesity and young to mid-life type II diabetes tracks well to this act. Metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance are the result of both a high glycemic and carbohydrate based diet.

There was an uproar by cardiologists at the time about the recommendation. They were ignored for what could be considered the greatest enactment by government of an ideological diet in US history over that of sound science.

The majority of government studies (including the NIH) conducted research to support the fat is bad mantra. What we got was bad science that failed to control for carbohydrate intake.

One of the other areas of negative health effects of a carbohydrate diet is triglyceride (TAG) levels. These increase to unhealthy levels in tandem with insulin resistance. A low carbohydrate diet will immediately lower TAG counts independent of BMI. A low carbohydrate diet supplemented with niacin is the safest way to lower and control high TAG levels. Other pharmaceutical options are very unsafe.

TAG levels have been ignored for their role in cardiac disease until recently. TAG levels are now being considered healthy under 100. From Wikipedia:

In the human body, high levels of triglycerides in the bloodstream have been linked to atherosclerosis, and, by extension, the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, the relative negative impact of raised levels of triglycerides compared to that of LDL:HDL ratios is as yet unknown. The risk can be partly accounted for by a strong inverse relationship between triglyceride level and HDL-cholesterol level.

This raises even more questions about government medicine. The food pyramid is now being recognized as the primary culprit in the increase in obesity, metabolically induced heart disease and type II diabetes. If TAG is the primary culprit in VLDL cholesterol, what is the effect of reducing VLDL with pharmaceuticals?

There were two schools of thought prior to cholesterol levels becoming government medicines enemy #1. The first and very vocal was the need to lower cholesterol levels at all cost. There was however an equally large school of physicians that felt that lowering cholesterol would not improve cardiac care and may have other deleterious effects. They compared attacking cholesterol levels with the same outcome as firemen going to a fire to put out the smoke.

Some in this same group felt that any small diameter lipoprotein (either high or low) was dangerous. Almost all felt that the total cholesterol score was meaningless without the breakdowns into the primary cholesterol types. There protests until recently have been ignored.

Like many other aspects of society, government medicine has been shown to be both dangerous in both recommendations and acceptance to conventional wisdom. There has been a trust of "government" resulting in an "Obedience to Authority" on the part of Americans to every pronouncement in Washington. We are seeing now how dangerous this unquestioning acceptance can be. From "global warming", the ban on DDT, Cap and Trade, cafe standards resulting in needless traffic deaths, Metabolic Disease and an emerging awareness of virus based cancer disease, the Federal Government has 100 percent culpability.

Needless suffering has resulted from a government who have overturned the constitution. If our Federal Government had constrained to those powers enumerated by law all of this needless suffering and deaths could have been avoided. Sadly it is only going to get worse.
20 posted on 07/31/2010 12:18:03 AM PDT by PA Engineer (Liberate America from the occupation media. There are Wars and Rumors of War.)
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