Fat, Sugar, Meat, Carbs: Just What IS a Healthy Diet?

Laurie Powell Laurie Powell

A look at the American dietary guidelines inspired by the documentary film:
What The Health by Kip Anderson

You may have heard a popular new phrase, “Sitting is the new smoking.” Well, I’d like to posit that eating POORLY – and unconsciously – is the new smoking. But, what is eating healthily? All the information we hear in the news and from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) is completely contradictory.

Fat was bad. Then the fat was good and the sugar was blamed for our obesity. The meat was bad. But, according to the Paleo diet followers, meat is now good. Paleo! Raw food! Vegan! Gluten-free! We’re bombarded with mixed messages about what is healthy to eat all the time. It’s enough to make you want to grab some junk food and eat it mindlessly in front of the TV!

Recently, I was given a documentary film to watch by one of my colleagues. It’s called What the Health. While watching the film, my jaw dropped as cardiologist after cardiologist said that animal fat is what is killing Americans at an alarming rate. And, more shocking – it’s not the sugar that’s causing diabetes. So, why the front page story in The New York Times Magazine earlier this year saying sugar besmirched fat’s reputation?! I wrote a whole blog about it!

The filmmaker and star of the documentary, Kip Anderson, talks about the link between diet and disease in America. He rattles off statistic after statistic in the intro. One out of every three people will die from cardiovascular disease. He claims the link between diet and heart disease, diet and cancer, and diet and diabetes, is irrefutable. One out of four people dies of cancer. Eating dairy and developing breast cancer is widely known by the medical community in the know. (How ironic is that?!) Kip goes on to say that eating sausage and bacon and other processed cured meats is as dangerous and unhealthy as smoking cigarettes. And, he interviews dozens of thought leaders in lifestyle-related diseases (all reputable and esteemed doctors) who claim that our government is leading us astray to keep us unhealthy. And, that there is a payoff for them in doing so!

Let’s break it down.

I always say if you follow the money you will learn the truth. So, what is the truth? Let’s examine how we are marketed to as that is where the money trail becomes apparent. Who is profiting from your ill health?

The American Tobacco Institute came up with a phrase that was the basis for their pro-tobacco lobbying campaign back in the day: “Doubt is our product. Confusion is their game.” By creating doubt that tobacco was the cause of cancer, the tobacco industry was able to keep selling their products long after it was known that there was a direct link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

The food industries are using the exact same strategy! Borrowing from the “Doubt is our product” playbook, the Dietary Guidelines Committee keeps the public in confusion, by pointing the finger of what causes disease at different culprits so they can continue to design the American Dietary Guidelines to include meat and dairy products.

It will come as no surprise that, like Big Pharma, the American Dairy Association and the meat industries lobby heavily in Washington to keep their products on American plates. Yet, we know that animal-based products like meat, fish, and dairy products contain PCBs, mercury, saturated fat, and cholesterol. And, that doesn’t include the growth hormones and antibiotic drugs used in raising livestock that we consume. When a pregnant woman eats these foods, those toxins are passed on to her unborn baby and then again through her breastmilk when she nurses. Look hard at what you are eating, people! Especially if you are eating for two!

Milk is a natural hormone. It’s meant to grow calves into full-sized cows in a two-year time period. But, to speed up the growing cycle and get to market sooner, (money, money, money) growing calves are given growth hormones. No wonder we grow fatter by eating dairy products! Cheese made from cow’s milk compromises your health, giving you such conditions as eczema, anemia, and cancer. “Oh, no!” you’re thinking. She’s not taking my cheese away from me, is she? No, I’m not. But, I am asking you to find out where your cheese comes from, who is producing it, what chemicals or growth hormones are they using in the production of it, if you are eating it often, and is it in small or large quantities?

The US Government’s own USDA Dietary Guidelines Committee is courted by lobbyists from McDonald’s, National Dairy Council, The American Meat Industry, Mars, Hershey, and many other junk food companies.

They use “Check Off” dietary programs that include these unhealthy food groups as part of the recommended American diet. That’s how they get their products into your kid’s school lunches.

Borrowing from Big Pharma’s playbook, customers are tapped while they are very young. $50 Million from the American Dairy Association is spent on school propaganda. Posters showing kids with milk moustaches say, “Milk Builds Strong Bones,” and “Milk Does a Body Good.” All this messaging is designed to influence kids to adopt dairy products as healthy food, which in fact, it is not. Let’s keep our eyes on the money.

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