Thursday, October 08, 2015

For decades, the government steered millions away from whole milk. Was that wrong?

U.S. dietary guidelines have long recommended that people steer clear of whole milk, and for decades, Americans have obeyed. Whole milk sales shrunk. It was banned from school lunch programs. Purchases of low-fat dairy climbed. “Replace whole milk and full-fat milk products with fat-free or low-fat choices,” says the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government's influential advice book, citing the role of dairy fat in heart disease. Whether this massive shift in eating habits has made anyone healthier is an open question among scientists, however. In fact, research published in recent years indicates that the opposite might be true: millions might have been better off had they stuck with whole milk. Scientists who tallied diet and health records for several thousand patients over ten years found, for example, that contrary to the government advice, people who consumed more milk fat had lower incidence of heart disease. By warning people against full-fat dairy foods, the United States is “losing a huge opportunity for the prevention of disease,” said Marcia Otto, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Texas and the lead author of large studies published in 2012 and 2013, which were funded by government and academic institutions, not the industry. “What we have learned over the last decade is that certain foods that are high in fat seem to be beneficial.”  This shift in understanding has led to accusations that the Dietary Guidelines harmed those people who for years avoided fats -- as instructed -- and loaded up excessively on the carbohydrates in foods such as breads, cookies and cakes that were marketed as "low fat." It also has raised questions about the scientific foundations of the government’s diet advice: To what extent did the federal government, and the diet scientists they relied upon, go wrong? When the evidence is incomplete on a dietary question, should the government refrain from making recommendations?...more

About the Washington Post article above, John Merlin writes:

The story goes on to note that the government's push for Americans to eat a high-carb diet "provokes a number of heart disease risk factors." As the Harvard School of Public Health's Walter Willett put it, the "campaign to reduce fat in the diet has had some pretty disastrous consequences." The Post goes on to note that this "has raised questions about the scientific foundations of the government's diet advice." It should. Based on flimsy evidence, the USDA first started urging people to eat low-fat diets in 1977. As evidence grew that this advice was misguided — at best — it steadfastly refused to change course. So what we have here is the U.S. government using its power and might to push Americans — quite successfully — to change their eating habits in ways that likely killed many of them. If a private enterprise had done this, it would face massive class action lawsuits, its executives would be in jail, and its reputation permanently ruined.

Reminds me of what I posted yesterday about government-set fires, i.e., there is no accountability. Bottom line: the feds are mismanaging one out of every three acres in the U.S., and you best keep them out of your kitchen too. 

Got Incompetence?  Oh yes, we are surrounded by it.  

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