Big Baby Step

Change is coming is tiny increments. First, Time magazine came out with the big report exonerating lard and butter–they are now known to not be dangerous to your heart or waist. Then government diet advisory committees came out with new advice that no longer disparaged dietary cholesterol–its now safe to eat eggs, chicken gizzards and livers. Now the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, has come out with their every-five-years advice on what we US citizens should be eating and feeding our children–sugar is now bad…

These guidelines, as they celebrate their 35th year of existence have been a major part of the problem with the American diet, pointing at the wrong nutrients to cut back on:

Since they were first issued in 1980, the guidelines have largely encouraged people to follow a low-fat diet, which prompted an explosion of processed foods stripped of fat and loaded with sugar. Studies show that replacing fat with refined carbohydrates like bread, rice and sugar can actually worsen cardiovascular health, so the guidelines encourage Americans to focus not on the amount of fat they are eating but on the type.

Instead of saying “which prompted an explosion of processed foods…loaded with sugar” it should more accurately say “and since fat, protein and carbohydrate are the only three types of food energy, limiting fats forced people to live on carbohydrate in their place.” It is a fact of life that we must have energy to live. Even if you are a vegetarian you must either get your energy from carbohydrate or fat.

Members of the panel said they wanted Americans to focus less on individual nutrients and more on overall patterns of eating, such as a Mediterranean-style diet, which is associated with lower rates of heart disease and stroke.

Olive oil distributors are going to love that sentence. Just before that in the article, before they advise the Mediterranean diet, there is the advice to not eat so many saturated fats (still the digs on lard, and butter, now exonerated) which means lots of olive oil and other vegetable oils for us. However, none of these oils are as heart healthy as good old animal oils like lard, tallow and butter, especially the oils from animals raised on pasture–they will be full of the proper ratio of the omega 6 and 3 oils. We cannot produce these oils, but must get them from our diet.

Americans consume 22 to 30 teaspoons of added sugar daily, half of which come from soda, juices and other sugary drinks. The panel said sugary drinks should be removed from schools, and it endorsed a rule proposed by the Food and Drug Administration that would require a distinct line for added sugars on food nutrition labels, a change the food and sugar industries have aggressively fought.

The Dietary Advisory Guidelines Committee call for a line on the food label that shows how much sugar is added to every product. The food industry has aggressively fought this small change. What they should really do is put the percentage of the recommended daily amount of sugar that is in a product. Look at any label now and you will see a %RDA number on the label for every line except one…sugar. Sometimes you will see an asterisk there that informs you that the daily advice for sugar “has not been determined.” Well, now it has…10 teaspoons of sugar per day for the average size man. There are two and a half times that much sugar in one COKE. There are four times that much in a Starbucks latte. The RDA % would say 400% for the latte. Plus, if you eat processed foods, eighty percent of them have hidden sugars in them. The label may not even say sugar on the ingredients, they will call it something else.

If only sugar were the only way that peoples heart health were affected, but, alas it is not. Sugar is a very potent carbohydrate. One form of sugar, fructose, can only be metabolized into fat. Fructose is the sugar found in fruit. However, all carbohydrate are turned into fat by insulin if they are not immediately used by muscles and organs. Eating a carbohydrate meal (the typical american meal) leads to a flood of insulin and your body eventually becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, and your pancreas cannot keep up with the demand. High blood sugar is called diabetes, and then you have to take extra insulin. By that time your blood pressure is already high, too, so there is that medicine.

Stop eating carbohydrates in every bite, be it sugar or flour. Get your energy from fats instead of carbs. Fats don’t cause an insulin response. There is more energy in the same weight of fats, too, so you don’t have to eat as much weight to get the same amount of energy. It’s a great thing that our government is starting to listen to the science, instead of the pseudoscience. In the meantime, think about this way of looking at how much sugar is hidden in your processed foods, maybe it will help you decide to quit eating processed foods:

About dcarmack

I am an instrument technician at the electric utility servicing the Kansas City Missouri metropolitan area. I am in the IBEW, Local 412. I was trained to be a nuclear power plant operator in the USN and served on submarines. I am a Democrat, even more so than those serving in Congress or the White House.
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