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Nutrition Experts Not Too Sweet on USDA Guidelines

February 14, 2011

Nutrition experts are gathering on Valentine's Day to make it clear they're not too sweet on the new USDA Dietary Guidelines, which place no restrictions on sugar. They're issuing an alternative eating guide, "Healthy 4 Life," based on the time-tested idea of four basic food groups.

Sally Fallon Morell is president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, the nonprofit nutrition education group that crafted the eating advice. She says the new guidelines are too much like the ones the USDA has had in place since the 1980s, which allow 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."

Because USDA guidelines become the basis of school lunch programs, Fallon Morell says the public should be concerned. The historical genesis of the Food Pyramid and its connection to school lunches is no secret, she adds: It was designed to help agriculture deal with surpluses.

"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 do not 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.

Deb Courson, Public News Service - CA