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Nutrition Experts Not Too Sweet on USDA Guidelines

February 14, 2011

CONCORD, N.H. - Too much of good things? Nutrition experts are gathering on Valentine's Day to make it clear they're not too sweet on the new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Dietary Guidelines. They're issuing an alternative eating guide based on the idea of four basic food groups.

Sally Fallon Morell is is president of the nonprofit nutrition education group Weston A. Price Foundation, which crafted the eating advice. She says the new USDA guidelines are too much like the ones in place since the 1980s, allowing large amounts of processed carbohydrates, including sugar. At the same time, the need for what she calls "nutrient-dense foods," such as whole milk, cheese, eggs and red meat, has been minimized - and obesity rates have ballooned.

"The tragedy is that saturated fats, like butter, and meat fats and egg yolks, carry extremely important vitamins for growth, reproduction, even for mental health."

The USDA guidelines become the basis of school lunch programs, and Fallon Morell says that's reason for the public to be concerned. She adds that the history of the Food Pyramid and its connection to school lunches is no secret: it was designed to help agriculture deal with overproduction of certain foodstuffs.

"There's nothing in there that says it has to be accurate, or scientific, or good for the children. This was a vehicle for getting rid of surpluses."

She also finds it disturbing that the USDA guidelines don't align with nutrition research and recommendations from other government agencies.

"In fact, we have one branch of the government saying we need 500 milligrams of choline per day, which is what you get in five egg yolks - and then, the USDA saying no more than one egg a day."

Fallon Morell advocates sensible portions from four food groups: animal foods; grains, legumes and nuts; vegetables and fruits; and healthy fats.

A news conference is set for today at 9 a.m., National Press Building, Holeman Lounge, 529-14th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. Representatives from the Salt Institute, Healthy Nation Coalition and Nutrition and Metabolism Society will be among the speakers.

Monique Coppola, Public News Service - NH