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How Big Food Companies Affect Nutrition Policy

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Research showing that coronary heart disease can be reversed with a plant-based diet—with or without other healthy lifestyle changes—has been published for decades in some of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. Why hasn’t this news translated into public policy yet?

In 1977, the U.S. Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs tried to do just that. Known as the McGovern Committee, they released Dietary Goals for the United States, a report advising Americans to cut down on animal-based foods and increase their consumption of plant- based foods. As a founding member of Harvard University’s nutrition department recalls, “The meat, milk and egg producers were very upset.”1 That’s an understatement. Under industry pressure, not only was the goal to “decrease meat consumption” removed from the report but the entire Senate nutrition committee was disbanded. Several prominent senators reputedly lost their election bids as a result of supporting the report.2

In more recent years, it was uncovered that many members of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee had financial ties to everything from candy bar companies to entities like McDonald’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles and Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. One committee member even served as “brand girl” for cake-mix maker Duncan Hines and then as the official Crisco “brand girl” before going on to help write the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans.3

As one commentator noted in the Food and Drug Law Journal, historically, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reports contained:

“No discussion at all of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper.”4

What about the medical profession, though?
Why haven’t my colleagues fully embraced this research demonstrating the power of good nutrition? Sadly, the history of medicine holds many examples of the medical establishment rejecting sound science when it goes against the prevailing conventional wisdom. There’s even a name for it: the “Tomato Effect.” The term was coined in the Journal of the American Medical Association in reference to the fact that tomatoes were once considered poisonous and were shunned for centuries in North America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.5

It’s bad enough that most medical schools don’t even require a single course on nutrition6, but it’s even worse when mainstream medical organizations actively lobby against increased nutrition education for physicians.7 When the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) was called out on their proud new corporate relationship with Coca-Cola to support patient education on healthy eating, an executive vice president of the academy tried to quell protests by explaining that this alliance was not without precedent. After all, they’d had relationships with PepsiCo and McDonald’s for some time.8 Even before that, they had financial ties to cigarette maker Philip Morris.9

This argument didn’t seem to placate the critics, so the AAFP executive quoted them the American Dietetic Association’s policy statement that “[t]here are no good or bad foods, just good or bad diets.” No bad foods? Really? The tobacco industry used to broadcast a similar theme: Smoking per se wasn’t bad, only “excess” smoking. Sound familiar? Everything in moderation.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA), which produces a series of nutrition fact sheets with guidelines on maintaining a healthy diet, also has its own corporate ties. Who writes these fact sheets? Food industry sources pay the ADA $20,000 per fact sheet to explicitly take part in the drafting process. So we can learn about eggs from the American Egg Board and about the benefits of chewing gum from the Wrigley Science Institute.10

Follow the Money: How the Food Industry Affects Nutrition Policy
 

joG

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Research showing that coronary heart disease can be reversed with a plant-based diet—with or without other healthy lifestyle changes—has been published for decades in some of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. Why hasn’t this news translated into public policy yet?

In 1977, the U.S. Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs tried to do just that. Known as the McGovern Committee, they released Dietary Goals for the United States, a report advising Americans to cut down on animal-based foods and increase their consumption of plant- based foods. As a founding member of Harvard University’s nutrition department recalls, “The meat, milk and egg producers were very upset.”1 That’s an understatement. Under industry pressure, not only was the goal to “decrease meat consumption” removed from the report but the entire Senate nutrition committee was disbanded. Several prominent senators reputedly lost their election bids as a result of supporting the report.2

In more recent years, it was uncovered that many members of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee had financial ties to everything from candy bar companies to entities like McDonald’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles and Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. One committee member even served as “brand girl” for cake-mix maker Duncan Hines and then as the official Crisco “brand girl” before going on to help write the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans.3

As one commentator noted in the Food and Drug Law Journal, historically, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reports contained:

“No discussion at all of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper.”4

What about the medical profession, though?
Why haven’t my colleagues fully embraced this research demonstrating the power of good nutrition? Sadly, the history of medicine holds many examples of the medical establishment rejecting sound science when it goes against the prevailing conventional wisdom. There’s even a name for it: the “Tomato Effect.” The term was coined in the Journal of the American Medical Association in reference to the fact that tomatoes were once considered poisonous and were shunned for centuries in North America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.5

It’s bad enough that most medical schools don’t even require a single course on nutrition6, but it’s even worse when mainstream medical organizations actively lobby against increased nutrition education for physicians.7 When the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) was called out on their proud new corporate relationship with Coca-Cola to support patient education on healthy eating, an executive vice president of the academy tried to quell protests by explaining that this alliance was not without precedent. After all, they’d had relationships with PepsiCo and McDonald’s for some time.8 Even before that, they had financial ties to cigarette maker Philip Morris.9

This argument didn’t seem to placate the critics, so the AAFP executive quoted them the American Dietetic Association’s policy statement that “[t]here are no good or bad foods, just good or bad diets.” No bad foods? Really? The tobacco industry used to broadcast a similar theme: Smoking per se wasn’t bad, only “excess” smoking. Sound familiar? Everything in moderation.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA), which produces a series of nutrition fact sheets with guidelines on maintaining a healthy diet, also has its own corporate ties. Who writes these fact sheets? Food industry sources pay the ADA $20,000 per fact sheet to explicitly take part in the drafting process. So we can learn about eggs from the American Egg Board and about the benefits of chewing gum from the Wrigley Science Institute.10

Follow the Money: How the Food Industry Affects Nutrition Policy

Naw. The news hasn't been widely noticed, because meat and fat heavy diets are as good as carbohydrates. And veggies are bad standing alone. But, of course, you can fix the pure veggie feeding by popping pills.
 
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Naw. The news hasn't been widely noticed, because meat and fat heavy diets are as good as carbohydrates. And veggies are bad standing alone. But, of course, you can fix the pure veggie feeding by popping pills.

factory farmed meat and big ag are your friends and it's great for you. some people will fall for anything.
 

Hawkeye10

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I am becoming convinced that the heart disease rate is way down not because of diet changes but because of cholesterol and blood pressure drugs, and that most of the diet advise from all sources has been at best useless and at worse counterproductive on the whole.

Eat what you like in moderation, and try to eat from all food groups, and by "eat what you like" I also mean get satisfied so make sure to eat sweets and fat if that is what you are craving......without being a pig about it. And most people should eat all the salt they want. This has been the wisdom passed down from those who have lived before us, and science has yet to prove this ancient wisdom wrong.

The fact is that the " experts" know very little about how food interacts with human bodies in general, and people have their own needs and wants, food reacts differently to different people for reasons we dont understand at all but might be largely because of the differences in the microbes that live in our guts. Modern diet advice from all sources, to include militant vegans, should be either ignored or viewed with enormous skepticism.
 
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put on the blinders and just eat what you want. not very good advice. factory farmed meat and processed food apologists.
 

Hawkeye10

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put on the blinders and just eat what you want. not very good advice. factory farmed meat and processed food apologists.

Life is hard enough under the best of circumstances, stressing about what we eat is just about the dumbest idea to come down the pike and gain traction during my lifetime. And now it is not just about being "fit", we are supposed to be all political about where it comes from and we are told that we need to make food choices that will " save the planet",

**** that noise, life is way too short for this extreme level of neuroticism, according to me.
 
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Life is hard enough under the best of circumstances, stressing about what we eat is just about the dumbest thing to come down the pike during my lifetime. And now it is not just about being "fit", we need to be all political about where it comes from and we are told that we need to make food choices that will " save the planet",

**** that noise, life is way too short for this extreme level of neuroticism, according to me.


you can't lose weight if you hang around fat people. you're firmly one of those people who don't care about your health, and I'm OK with that.
 

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Research showing that coronary heart disease can be reversed with a plant-based diet—with or without other healthy lifestyle changes—has been published for decades in some of the most prestigious medical journals in the world. Why hasn’t this news translated into public policy yet?

In 1977, the U.S. Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs tried to do just that. Known as the McGovern Committee, they released Dietary Goals for the United States, a report advising Americans to cut down on animal-based foods and increase their consumption of plant- based foods. As a founding member of Harvard University’s nutrition department recalls, “The meat, milk and egg producers were very upset.”1 That’s an understatement. Under industry pressure, not only was the goal to “decrease meat consumption” removed from the report but the entire Senate nutrition committee was disbanded. Several prominent senators reputedly lost their election bids as a result of supporting the report.2

In more recent years, it was uncovered that many members of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee had financial ties to everything from candy bar companies to entities like McDonald’s Council on Healthy Lifestyles and Coca-Cola’s Beverage Institute for Health and Wellness. One committee member even served as “brand girl” for cake-mix maker Duncan Hines and then as the official Crisco “brand girl” before going on to help write the official Dietary Guidelines for Americans.3

As one commentator noted in the Food and Drug Law Journal, historically, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee reports contained:

“No discussion at all of the scientific research on the health consequences of eating meat. If the Committee actually discussed this research, it would be unable to justify its recommendation to eat meat, as the research would show that meat increases the risks of chronic diseases, contrary to the purposes of the Guidelines. Thus, by simply ignoring that research, the Committee is able to reach a conclusion that would otherwise look improper.”4

What about the medical profession, though?
Why haven’t my colleagues fully embraced this research demonstrating the power of good nutrition? Sadly, the history of medicine holds many examples of the medical establishment rejecting sound science when it goes against the prevailing conventional wisdom. There’s even a name for it: the “Tomato Effect.” The term was coined in the Journal of the American Medical Association in reference to the fact that tomatoes were once considered poisonous and were shunned for centuries in North America, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.5

It’s bad enough that most medical schools don’t even require a single course on nutrition6, but it’s even worse when mainstream medical organizations actively lobby against increased nutrition education for physicians.7 When the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) was called out on their proud new corporate relationship with Coca-Cola to support patient education on healthy eating, an executive vice president of the academy tried to quell protests by explaining that this alliance was not without precedent. After all, they’d had relationships with PepsiCo and McDonald’s for some time.8 Even before that, they had financial ties to cigarette maker Philip Morris.9

This argument didn’t seem to placate the critics, so the AAFP executive quoted them the American Dietetic Association’s policy statement that “[t]here are no good or bad foods, just good or bad diets.” No bad foods? Really? The tobacco industry used to broadcast a similar theme: Smoking per se wasn’t bad, only “excess” smoking. Sound familiar? Everything in moderation.

The American Dietetic Association (ADA), which produces a series of nutrition fact sheets with guidelines on maintaining a healthy diet, also has its own corporate ties. Who writes these fact sheets? Food industry sources pay the ADA $20,000 per fact sheet to explicitly take part in the drafting process. So we can learn about eggs from the American Egg Board and about the benefits of chewing gum from the Wrigley Science Institute.10

Follow the Money: How the Food Industry Affects Nutrition Policy

I do agree that there is a large problem in our Corporate capitalist model and that big farm has had its hand in the cookie jar. I don't think that completely giving up meat needs to be the answer. One can decrease the amount of meat while paying attention to the source of the meat they do buy so as to buy more responsibly.

But I don't think this is limited to just meat products, the whole Monsanto and GMO thing goes to plants as well. So even with veggies, origin needs.to be considered.
 

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you can't lose weight if you hang around fat people. you're firmly one of those people who don't care about your health, and I'm OK with that.

Health is more than biology, it is also emotional and spiritual. We only have so much time and energy, it is up to us to use it wisely. The following of food intake fads and myths would be a great waste of my time on this planet, I have found many many things that are more worthy of my time and focus.

I refuse, and I am pretty sure this makes me wise.
 
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Health is more than biology, it is also emotional and spiritual. We only have so much time and energy, it is up to us to use it wisely. The following of food intake fads and myths would be a great waste of my time on this planet, I have found many many things that are more worthy of my time and focus.

I refuse, and I am pretty sure this makes me wise.

maybe you should revisit the category of this forum. it's under self help.

That means you help people to improve, not sabatoge health advice with "aw screw it eat whatcha want".
 

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maybe you should revisit the category of this forum. it's under self help.

That means you help people to improve, not sabatoge health advice with "aw screw it eat whatcha want".

Encouraging better use of our time and focus is self help, as evidenced by all of the tens of thousands of books on the subject which are found in the self help section.

Your problem seems to be having a very small definition of health. I am Zen, which means when I talk about health I am talking a whole body experience. I also notice that almost everything you talk about is theory not proven fact. I mean I could get into that if I was bored, but that is not the case.
 
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Encouraging better use of our time and focus is self help, as evidenced by all of the tens of thousands of books on the subject which are found in the self help section.

Your problem seems to be having a very small definition of health. I am Zen, which means when I talk about health I am talking a whole body experience. I also notice that almost everything you talk about is theory not proven fact. I mean I could get into that if I was bored, but that is not the case.

Zen Buddhists are into killing animals and wolfing down burgers

you're a riot
 
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Consider what the Buddha said: "Action (kamma) is intention (cetana)." When we eat meat we do not think: "Oh, may they kill more animals so that I may have more meat to eat. Never mind if being have to suffer and die." When we eat vegetables, fruits and other non-meat food, we do not think: "Oh, may they plant more of such food. Never mind if beings have to suffer and die." When we eat, our intention is to eat.
 

Grand Mal

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Nutrition policy? What does that even mean?

Is it an odd thing that vegetarianism and veganism are an urban phenomenon? With a few exceptions, of course, almost all city people who've 'moved back to the land'. It's an affectation, a self-indulgence, that requires extra bucks and extra effort and research to get back to zero, zero being a healthy body. I know one guy who lives vegetarian easily, and he's been vegetarian all his life. His family immigrated from India, and he remarks how expensive it is to feed his family the way they know they need.
It's one thing to proselytize veganism among pampered, self-indulgent urbanites who probably cheat behind each others backs anyway. It's ridiculous to try to present it as a viable lifestyle for everyone.
You want to see how 'natural' veganism is? You and I are lost in the wilderness, you with a knife and your knowledge of plants and plant nutrition and me with a knife and my knowledge of hunting and trapping. If you get out it'd be because I fed you.
 
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Nutrition policy? What does that even mean?

Is it an odd thing that vegetarianism and veganism are an urban phenomenon? With a few exceptions, of course, almost all city people who've 'moved back to the land'. It's an affectation, a self-indulgence, that requires extra bucks and extra effort and research to get back to zero, zero being a healthy body. I know one guy who lives vegetarian easily, and he's been vegetarian all his life. His family immigrated from India, and he remarks how expensive it is to feed his family the way they know they need.
It's one thing to proselytize veganism among pampered, self-indulgent urbanites who probably cheat behind each others backs anyway. It's ridiculous to try to present it as a viable lifestyle for everyone.
You want to see how 'natural' veganism is? You and I are lost in the wilderness, you with a knife and your knowledge of plants and plant nutrition and me with a knife and my knowledge of hunting and trapping. If you get out it'd be because I fed you.


you're delusional. Vegetarianism and non meat eating isn't a urban thing. I'm also not in a jeremiah johnson or shipwrecked arctic expedition situation. And it isn't exactly rocket science to cut up and animal and cook it. No one needs you to "save them". least of all, me.
 

Grand Mal

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you're delusional. Vegetarianism and non meat eating isn't a urban thing. I'm also not in a jeremiah johnson or shipwrecked arctic expedition situation. And it isn't exactly rocket science to cut up and animal and cook it. No one needs you to "save them". least of all, me.

I'm not at all delusional, and in North America and Europe and probably South America and Africa and most ot Asia vegetarianism is an urban thing. Okay, in parts of rural India and Southeast Asia it's common in rural villages but the fact is that vegetarianism in most of the world except among the priviledged is a result of dire poverty and results in gross malnutrition and high infant mortality.
There's a big world out there, you should maybe look around at it.
 
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I'm not at all delusional, and in North America and Europe and probably South America and Africa and most ot Asia vegetarianism is an urban thing. Okay, in parts of rural India and Southeast Asia it's common in rural villages but the fact is that vegetarianism in most of the world except among the priviledged is a result of dire poverty and results in gross malnutrition and high infant mortality.
There's a big world out there, you should maybe look around at it.

maybe you should grow up a little bit. just because the western world is fat and unhealthy it doesn't mean you have to join in.
 

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maybe you should grow up a little bit. just because the western world is fat and unhealthy it doesn't mean you have to join in.

Most of the world is now fat according to the "experts", not that I assume they use the right yardstick or anything but people are getting bigger...East/West, Rich/Poor, North/South, religion be damned, culture be damned.

Something is going on, and I think it is cheap high quality food, the lowest cost to procure a calorie ever in the history of humans I am guessing.

This is what winning looks like.

Enjoy it.
 
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Most of the world is now fat according to the "experts", not that I assume they use the right yardstick or anything but people are getting bigger...East/West, Rich/Poor, North/South, religion be damned, culture be damned.

Something is going on, and I think it is cheap high quality food, the lowest cost to procure a calorie ever in the history of humans I am guessing.

This is what winning looks like.

Enjoy it.

not being able to see your shoes and getting heart disease and diabetes is not "winning"
 

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not being able to see your shoes and getting heart disease and diabetes is not "winning"

Heart disease is way down, and we have tons of new effective (but expensive) diabetes drugs.....you need to prove to me that a significant number of years are lost to these to get me to care. And since I am a quality over quantity guy (# of years) your job is harder than you think it is, because you dont meet many people like me.
 
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Heart disease is way down, and we have tons of new effective (but expensive) diabetes drugs.....you need to prove to me that a significant number of years are lost to these to get me to care. And since I am a quality over quantity guy (# of years) your job is harder than you think it is, because you dont meet many people like me.

so eat what you like because there are pills out there to keep you alive when you get diseases from bad eating.

no thanks
 
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