The panel that determines the guidelines on what Americans should eat lived up to expectations that it would wimp out on sugar consumption. That’s because the new dietary guidelines acknowledge a link between soft drinks and weight gain, but avoided telling Americans to eat less refined sugar, reports Reuters.
Just two weeks ago, DadTalk reported on how the guidelines are determined by politics and special interests rather than science. The new guidelines confirm that.
While the guidelines leave out a specific call to cut sugar, the panel’s overall report says: “A reduced intake of added sugars (especially sugar-sweetened beverages) may be helpful in achieving recommended intakes of nutrients and in weight control.” The experts refused to tell Americans to cut down on soft drinks, cakes, cookies, pies, candy and other sugar-filled food because more research is needed, the Reuters story said.
Excuse me? This is sounding a lot like the cigarette manufacturers claiming their product doesn’t cause lung cancer. We all know it does despite what their scientists claim.
But I do understand the sugar industry’s complaint that they are being singled out. That’s true, because sugar alone is not the problem. High fat content in food is also to blame. So are fad diets such as Atkins. In fact, that’s been the food industry’s biggest defense: the cause of obesity in America is hugely complex.
And of course that’s the way industry likes it, because it’s darn near impossible to point a finger at anyone in particular. Industry knows that the real threat would be for Americans to understand why they are heavy: a culture of indulgence mixed with marketing of unneeded products.
Simply put, huge corporations don’t make as much money on grains, vegetables and fruit when sold in their natural state. But for a variety of reasons – such as economies of scale and less wastage – the more processed a food product, the larger the profit.
So food corporations devise products in the guise of convenience or say “you deserve this indulgence” in the hopes that marketers can create demand for completely useless products. So when these guidelines are generated, corporations are relatively satisfied as long as the recommendations remain weak and generic.
But if the government suddenly realized it had to do something about obesity, it would have to tell Americans to avoid virtually all processed foods. The guidelines would read something like this: “You should primarily eat fruit, vegetables and grains with a little bit of nuts, fish, meat and cheese on the side. Everything else is crap.” Big business is not about to let that happen.
Additional – Here are the committee’s preliminary guidelines:
• Consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within energy needs.
• Control calorie intake to manage body weight.
• Be physically active every day.
• Increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk and milk products.
• Choose fats wisely for good health.
• Choose carbohydrates wisely for good health.
• Choose and prepare foods with little salt.
• If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
• Keep food safe to eat.