The 2015 Dietary Advisory Committee Report: A Summary

Last week, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released the report containing its recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.   The report is 572 pages long, more than 100 pages longer than the last report, released 5 years ago.  Longer than one of my blog posts, even. Despite its length, and the tortured governmentalese in which it is written, its message is pretty clear and simple. So for those of you who would like to know what the report says, but don’t want to read the whole damn thing, I present, below, its essence:

Dear America,

You are sick–and fat.  And it’s all your fault. 

Face it.  You screwed up.  Somewhere in the past few decades, you started eating too much food. Too much BAD food.  We don’t know why.  We think it is because you are stupid.

We don’t know why you are stupid.

You used to be smart–at least about food–but somewhere in the late 1970s or early 1980s, you got stupid. Before then, we didn’t have to tell you what to eat.  Somehow, you just knew. You ate food, and you didn’t get fat and sick.

But NOW, every five years we have to get together and rack our brains to try and figure out a way to tell you how to eat–AGAIN.  Because no matter what we tell you, it doesn’t work. 

The more we tell you how to eat, the worse your eating habits get. And the worse your eating habits get, the fatter and sicker you are.  And the fatter and sicker you are, the more we have to tell you how to eat. 

DGA - Length & Obesity 1980-2010

Look. You know we have no real way to measure your eating habits.  Mostly because fat people lie about what they eat and most of you are now, technically speaking, fat.  But we still know that your eating habits have gotten worse. How?  Because you’re fat.  And, y’know, sick.  And the only real reason people get fat and sick is because they have poor eating habits.  That much we do know for sure.

And because, for decades now,  we have been telling you exactly what to eat so you don’t get fat and sick, we also know the only real reason people have poor eating habits is because they are stupid.  So you must be stupid.

Let’s make this as clear as possible for you:

sick fat stupid people

And though it makes our hearts heavy to say this, unfortunately, and through no fault of their own, people who don’t have much money are particularly stupid.  We know this because they are sicker than people who have money.  Of course, money has nothing to do with whether or not you are sick.  It’s the food, stupid.

We’ll admit that some of the responsibility for this rests on our shoulders.  When we started out telling you how to eat, we didn’t realize how stupid you were.  That was our fault.

In 1977, a bunch of us got together to figure out how to make sure you would not get fat and sick.  You weren’t fat and sick at the time, so we knew you needed our help.

We told you to eat more carbohydrates–a.k.a., sugars and starches–and less sugar.  How simple is that?  But could you follow this advice?  Nooooooo.  You’re too stupid.

We told you to eat food with less fat. We meant for you to buy a copy of the Moosewood Cookbook and eat kale and lentils and quinoa.  But no, you were too stupid for that too.  Instead, you started eating PRODUCTS  that said “low-fat” and “fat-free.”  What were you thinking?

We told you to eat less animal fat. Obviously, we meant JUST DON’T EAT ANIMALS.  But you didn’t get it.  Instead, you quit eating cows and started eating chickens.  Hellooooo?  Chickens are ANIMALS.

After more than three decades of us telling you how to eat, it is obvious you are too stupid to figure out how to eat.  So we are here to make it perfectly clear, once and for all.

FIRST:  Don’t eat food with salt in it.

Even though food with salt in it doesn’t make you fat, it does raise your blood pressure.  Maybe.  Sometimes.  And, yes, we know that your blood pressure has been going down for a few decades now, but it isn’t because you are eating less salt, because you’re not.  And it’s true that we really have no idea whether or not reducing your intake of salt prevents disease. But all of that is beside the point.

Here’s the deal:  Salt makes food taste good.  And when food tastes good, you eat it.  We’re opposed to that.  But since you are too stupid to actually stop eating food, we are going to insist that food manufacturers stop putting salt in their products.  That way, their products will grow weird microorganisms and spoil rapidly–and will taste like poop.

This will force everyone to stop eating food products and get kale from the farmer’s market (NO SALT ADDED) and lentils and quinoa in bulk from the food co-op (NO SALT ADDED).  Got it?

Also, we are working on ways to make salt shakers illegal. 

Ban Salt Shakers

 

NEXT:  Don’t eat animals. At all.  EVER.

We told you not to eat animals because meat has lots of fat, and fat makes you fat.  Then you just started eating skinny animals. So we’re scrapping the whole fat thing.  Eat all the fat you want.  Just don’t eat fat from animals, because that is the same thing as eating animals, stupid.

We told you not to eat animals because meat has lots of cholesterol, and dietary cholesterol makes your blood cholesterol go up.  Now our cardiologist friends who work for pharmaceutical companies and our buds over at the American Heart Association have told us that avoiding dietary cholesterol won’t actually make your blood cholesterol go down.  They say:  If you want your blood cholesterol to go down, take a statin.  Statins, in case you are wondering, are not made from animals, so you can have all you want.  

Eggs? you ask.  We’ve ditched the cholesterol limits, so now you think you can eat eggs?  Helloooo?  Eggs are just baby chickens and baby chickens are animals and you are NOT ALLOWED TO EAT ANIMALS.  Geez.

Yes, we are still hanging onto that “don’t eat animals because of saturated fat” thing, but we know it can’t last forever since we can’t actually prove that saturated fat is the evil dietary villain we’ve been saying it is.  So …

Here’s the deal:  Eating animals doesn’t just kill animals.  It kills the planet.  If you keep killing animals and eating them WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE.  And it’s going to be your fault, stupid.

And especially don’t eat red meat.  C’mon.  Do we have to spell this out for you?  RED meat? 

RED meat = COMMUNIST meat.  Does Vladimir Putin look like a vegan?  We thought not. 

 

 If you really must eat dead rotting flesh, we think it is okay to eat dead rotting fish flesh, as long as it is from salmon raised on ecologically sustainable fish farms by friendly people with college educations. 

FINALLY:  Stop eating–and drinking–sugar.

Okay, we know we told you to eat more carbohydrate food.  And, yes, we know sugar is a carbohydrate. But did you really think we were telling you to eat more sugar?  Look, if you must have sugar, eat some starchy grains and cereals. The only difference between sugar and starch is about 15 minutes in your digestive tract.  But …

Here’s the deal:  Sugar makes food taste good.  And when food tastes good, you eat it.  Like we said, we’re opposed to that.  But since you are too stupid to actually stop eating food, we are going to insist that food manufacturers stop putting sugar in their products.  That way, their products will grow weird microorganisms and spoil rapidly–and will taste like poop.

This will force everyone to stop eating food products and get kale from the farmer’s market (NO SUGAR ADDED) and lentils and quinoa in bulk from the food co-op (NO SUGAR ADDED).  Got it?

Ban cupcakes

 

Hey, we know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking “Oh, I’ll just use artificial sweeteners instead of sugar.”  Oh NOOOO you don’t.  No sugar-filled soda.  No diet soda.  Water only. Capiche?

 So, to spell it all out for you once and for all:

DO NOT EAT food that has salt or sugar in it, i.e. food that tastes good.  Also don’t eat animals.

DO EAT kale from your local farmers’ market, lentils and quinoa from your local food co-op,  plus salmon. Drink water.  That’s it. 

And, since we graciously recognize the diversity of this great nation, we must remind you that you can adapt the above dietary pattern to meet the your own health needs, dietary preferences and cultural traditions. Just as long as you don’t add salt, sugar, or dead animals.

Because we have absolutely zero faith you are smart enough to follow even this simple advice, we are asking for additional research to be done on your child-raising habits (Do you let your children eat food that tastes good?  BAAAAD parent!) and your sleep habits (Do you dream about cheeseburgers?  We KNOW you do and that must stop!  No DEAD IMAGINARY ANIMALS!)

And–because we recognize your deeply ingrained stupidity when it come to all things food, and because we know that food is the only thing that really matters when it comes to health, we are proposing  America create a national “culture of health” where healthy lifestyles are easier to achieve and normative.

“Normative” is a big fancy word that means if you eat what we tell you to eat, you are a good person and if you eat food that tastes good, you are a bad person. We will know  you are bad person because you will be sick. Or fat. Because that’s what happens to bad people who eat bad food.

We will kick-off this “culture of health” by creating an Office of Dietary Wisdom that will make the healthy choice–kale, lentils, quinoa, salmon, and water–the easy choice for all you stupid Americans.  We will establish a Food Czar to run the Office of Dietary Wisdom, because nothing says “America, home of freedom and democracy” like the title of a 19th century Russian monarch.*

The primary goal of the “culture of health” will be to enforce your right to eat what we’ve determined is good for you. 

This approach will combine the draconian government overreach we all love with the lack of improvements we expect, resulting in a continued demand for our services as the only people smart enough to tell the stupid people how to eat.**

 Look.  We know we’ve been a little unclear in the past.  And we know we’ve reversed our position on a number of things. Hey, our bad.  And when, five years from now, you stupid Americans are as sick and fat as ever, we may have to change up our advice again based, y’know, on whatever evidence we can find that supports the conclusions we’ve already reached.

But rest assured, America.

No matter what the evidence says, we are never ever going to tell you it’s okay to eat salt, sugar, or animals.  And, no matter what the evidence says, we are never ever going to tell you that it’s not okay to eat grains, cereals, or vegetable oils.  And you can take that to the bank.  We did.

Love and kisses,

Committee for Government Approved Information on Nutrition (Code name: G.A.I.N.)

***********************************************************************************

*Thank you, Steve Wiley.

**Thank you, Jon Stewart, for at least part of this line.

 

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45 thoughts on “The 2015 Dietary Advisory Committee Report: A Summary

  1. Complete verbal diarrhea. Regardless of the fact that you completely misrepresent the report, your writing is neither witty nor funny.

    I could argue nutrition with you but its pointless, you can find a study that “proves” anything. The real proof is to go to any country in East Asia, particularly the less developed ones. You will find millions of people eating large bowls of rice, noodles and other carbs three times a day, and you will find that hardly anyone is overweight.

    1. How am I “completely misrepresenting” the report? Do they think it is okay to eat salt? Sugar? Meat? No. I did make up the stuff about communist meat, but not the part about water and salmon.

      I think that your point about being able to find a nutrition study that “proves” anything is sort of the point. As long as the science is that conflicted, weak, and inconclusive, why are we prescribing one national dietary pattern to everyone?

      Despite my willingness to accept that some folks don’t do well on a high carb diet, I am not opposed to dietary carbs at all (some of my best friends are carbs). But let’s be honest about this. The “starch” that the DGAC wants you to eat ends up (for the most part) as the exact same molecule as the “sugar” they do not want you to eat.

      As for the success of large bowls of rice & noodles as the centerpiece of the diets of people in East Asia, I say: Hooray for them (although not being “overweight” is not the same thing as being healthy or well-nourished). And again, this is sort of the point. Why would we assume that a diet that works well for a particular population in a particular environment can automatically be transferred to ALL OTHER HUMANS? There are many differences between people who live in East Asia and people who live in America: genetics, physical environment, additional lifestyle factors, other dietary factors, not to mention more complex issues like epigenetic interactions and microbiomes. The success of different types of diets for different populations is not “proof” (“real” or otherwise) that everyone should be eating the same thing, but that different people should be eating differently.

  2. “The report itself is such elitist condescending drivel.” That’s really it. It all seems to go back to people who insist on abandoning the sciences of endocrinology et al. to replace them with “their opinion on psychology.” In other words, it’s abandoning science, period, and then using mostly poor science or poor creative interpretations of it to justify doing so, on and on, regardless of the fact that the results get worse not better, the more government interference there is.

    It’s like DILBERT meets BRAZIL over a MyPlate lunch.

    It’s not that your body wants something and acts/reacts in accordance. It’s that your brain is messed up and it makes you a weak-willed idiot-slave to your body (you know, like how women were slaves to those selfish babies who tried to manipulate them by crying in Dr. Spock’s early days. He recanted deeply before his death…nobody noticed).

    It’s all human stupidity, according to those sure they are smarter than everybody else. The fact that animals such as cows have the same biological experience is ignored: like that they also get fatter on grains, and leaner and more energetic on coconut oil, completely without regard to their relationships with their mothers.

    Thanks for the humor. It’s a laugh-or-you-will-cry kind of thing.

    1. “DILBERT meets BRAZIL over a MyPlate lunch”–I may have to steal this line.

      I spent a week in January riding around Virginia with a bunch of experts in forage, animal science, and agricultural economics. They were so puzzled by the conclusions that we’ve come to in human nutrition that directly contradict everything they know about all other animal nutrition. My favorite was about protein. If you feel animals a ration higher in protein, then, get this, sometimes they don’t eat enough to “gain.” If you feed them a low protein ration, then they take in more calories & gain weight more rapidly. So clearly, in order to solve the obesity crisis, we should tell people to eat foods low in protein, like plants. 🙂

  3. This is a Masterpiece! I really enjoyed it.

    One thing though: don’t the guidelines mention anything about fiber? If not, that would surprise me. I’ve been seeing a lot of recommendations about it, and it could go something like this:

    “Not only are YOU stupid, but so is your body! This is why it’s important to eat 25-30 grams of fiber every day, to trick your stupid body into thinking it’s full, thereby reducing calories and making sure you don’t get fat. So be sure to fill up on lots of indigestible roughage with zero nutritional value, because your stupid stomach won’t know the difference, and will think it’s getting real food. Better yet, why not just eat wood chips and cardboard? This will prevent YOU, stupid people, from getting fat.
    So in summary, the perfect one-size-fits-all diet that every man, woman and child of all ages should strive for is: wood chips, cardboard, kale, lentils, quinoa, and statins. It’s low fat, high fiber, and reduces cholesterol.
    And, of course, don’t forget to eat less and move more!

    1. Excellent! You can have my job now 🙂

      Re: fiber–You’ll love this. The DGAC report considers fiber an “essential nutrient.” Yeah. Go figure that one.

    1. Oh wow–I’m glad to find another one too! There’s more of us than you might think.

      And don’t look now, but it seems that the Academy itself may be wising up to the fact that being handcuffed as a profession to dietary guidance that only works for a very few people isn’t exactly good for our reputations or our business models. That’s right folks, hell may actually be freezing over 🙂

      1. Count me among your “savvy RD” number as well. I hope the changes come fast – I served as clinical supervisor for dietetic CP students this past semester, and they were functionally nutritionally illiterate in many ways, but they could tell you what the USDA recommended, by golly. I have never been so scared for my profession as when I had to explain why low fat high carb meals were not appropriate for diabetics (to the ringing peals of, “but I made sure my menu was ADA compliant!).

        1. YAY! Thanks for being in touch. I think what we do as RDs is so important–and its so unfortunate that our clinical thinking skills and science base has been hijacked by the AND and the Dietary Guidelines (not to mention the ADA …). So glad to hear from you & know our numbers are growing.

      1. Thanks Adele! I do a 24 to 30 hour fast once a week along with usually eating just twice a day with no snacks. People at my work think I’m crazy and they tell me that will slow down my metabolism; you must eat several times a day they say. I’ve been doing LCHF for over a year and have been at my goal weight for 8 months. I’ve been back reading your blog… great stuff!

  4. Excellent piece. I like it a lot.

    BTW, I have it on good authority that quinoa is made from crushed fairy bones, mixed with unicorn tears – that is where all the supposed magical goodness comes from.

    I refuse to eat it because, as everyone knows, unicorns have this stubborn tendency to graze on crop-dusted kale.

    Unicorns and pandas…I have no idea how they are not extinct.

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      Quinoa. It just sounds special. Now I know. It’s the fairy bones & unicorn tears. Not the whole graininess, after all 🙂

  5. BRILLIANT and HILARIOUS, as per your usual, Adele. Did my Hyundai morph into DeLorean when I wasn’t looking, ‘cuz call me crazy, but somehow, we just went from 2015 to 1984. 😉 Seriously, my dear, you have an incredible and rich talent for expressing some of our collective outrage, disappointment, confusion, and righteous indignation, yet delivering it with the kind of humor that makes it almost painfully obvious how spot-on it is. Thanks for another great post. See you here again in 2020. I’ll bring the salt- and fat-free quinoa & kale salad. (Oh, wait, I can put walnuts in it — y’know, the “good fat.”) You bring the wine…er…grape juice. We probably won’t be allowed to have wine in 5 years. Alice can bring the soy burgers! 😀

    1. Thanks for the kind words. My first reaction to the DGAC report involved teeth-gnashing and garment-rending. But one can only gnash & rend for so long.

      I was actually inspired by a Malcolm X speech. He was asking his audience (of African Americans):

      What were you before the white man named you a Negro? And where were you? And what did you have? What was yours? What language did you speak then? What was your name? It couldn’t have been Smith or Jones or Bunch?? or Powell. That wasn’t your name. They don’t have those kind of names where you and I came from. No. What was your name? And why don’t you now know what your name was then? Where did it go? Where did you lose it? Who took it? And how did he take it? What tongue did you speak? How did the man take your tongue? Where is your history? How did the man wipe out your history? How did the man, what did the man do to make you as dumb as you are right now?

      And although I do not want to imply that what was taken from us by the Dietary Guidelines is anything like what was taken away from people put into slavery, it made me think. We used to know how to eat, didn’t we? So what did the DGA do to make us as dumb about food as we are now?

    1. Awww. That would just spoil everything now wouldn’t it? I’m looking forward to an extensive throwdown in oral testimony–maybe even in Congressional hearings–over this nonsense.

      It is, however, time for people to get seriously cheesed off about this crap. Why do we tolerate being berated like this? The report itself is such elitist condescending drivel. “Culture of health”? Really? Because, you know, all of us out here in the hinterlands, we just don’t give a rat’s ass about our health, right?

  6. Kathy, You are right. NOW let’s do something about it!

    And Charles, you are so true to form: You come across as a disgruntled misanthrope, who is so blinded by his misperceptions that he is unaware or unaccepting of scientific truths. As a result, you make an ass of yourself.

    And Readers, become active. Tweet, and Face, and Link (or whatever) this post far and wide and often. Government regulation of the natural laws of human nutrition MUST be terminated. Natural laws are outside the province of man-made government.

    And finally, Adele, Bless you for your great wisdom and courage. Keep strong.

    1. Thanks. Yes. It is time for the government to stop telling us what to eat and what not to eat. As you point out, it is a farce. The thinking seems to be that if we are given enough information, or if enough restrictions and policies are put into place, all bodies will somehow conform to their expectations. Well, some bodies might, but many will not. Bodies follow natural laws, not government guidelines.

      Really, I’m quite puzzled about the expectations asserted in this report. There is an ongoing paradox here. As consumers, we are seen as being unable or unwilling to figure out what to eat in order to be healthy, despite 35 years of having this information provided for us. Yet, we are also seen as being able and willing to follow these directives, this time.

    1. Well, they pulled off a neat trick: Dropped overall fat and cholesterol limits while making the list of “acceptable” foods more restrictive than ever. Like The Boss said, “One step up and two steps back.”

    1. I was aiming for “pathetic,” so if I managed to get “beyond pathetic,” I must have represented the 2015 DGAC report quite accurately. I wish that the snarkiness was all mine, but as it stands, the report itself is pretty snarky. While it’s true that I “embellished” a little, sadly, I did not have to embellish much.

      So I’m wondering: Does someone out there have a better reason for why the DGAC folks think we need our diets micromanaged through “a culture of health,” other than reason I’ve suggested here (and which they suggest in their report), which is that they think we’re mindless weak-willed consumers (i.e. stupid), manipulated by the machinations of BIG FOOD? I’m curious …

  7. Adele:

    Couldn’t stop laughing. Great piece. Thanks for the update.

    I recently started a ZERO-Carb diet as described at kelly@myzerocarblife.com. Kelly has been doing this for 10 years and has had great success, so at her husband’s suggestion began to share the wealth. The routine is simple – eat only products of animals.

    So, for a 30-day period, I’m eating lots of steak, eggs, cheeses, etc. (How’d that glass of wine sneak thru?). Set aside my supplements. Measure a bunch of health-related parameters to keep things on track. It’s usually one mid-meal a day. So far, so good, but I’m only about 5-days in. Take that Dietary Advisory Committee.

    Don Ewart

    Sent from my iPad Retina

    >

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