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I am a New Zealand registered nurse and nutritionist (Grad Cert Sci: nutrition, Massey Univ). I am a Certified Zone Instructor, and have worked teaching Zone diet principles to hundreds of clients over the last 10 years. More recently after finding that eating Paleo food choices was the "icing on the cake" health wise, I have become a Paleo enthusiast and teacher. Follow me on twitter @juliannejtaylor

New USDA Nutrition Guidelines do not match current research

A recent opinion piece in the Los Angeles Times questions the new USDA dietary guidelines – especially in light of recent studies showing (see my previous articles for these studies):
1. Saturated fat is not associated with heart disease as previously thought.
2. Excess refined carbohydrates increase your risk of heart disease.
3. Eating red meat does not increase your risk of heart disease.

Here are some exerts from the article:

“U.S. dietary guidelines hard to swallow”

“Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services revised their dietary guidelines for Americans, which are intended to set the direction for federal nutrition education programs. The next set of guidelines, published later this year, could prove more controversial than usual, because increasing scientific evidence suggests that some current federal recommendations have simply been wrong. Will a public health establishment that has been slow to admit its mistakes over the years acknowledge the new research and shift direction? Or will it stubbornly stick to its obsolete guidelines?”

“Now researchers have started asking hard questions about fat consumption and heart disease, and the answers are startling. In an analysis of the daily food intake of about 350,000 people published in the March issue of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at the Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland found no link between the amount of saturated fat that a person consumed and the risk of heart disease. One reason, the researchers speculate, is that saturated fat raises levels of so-called good, or HDL, cholesterol, which may offset an accompanying rise in general cholesterol.

A study out of Harvard this spring analyzed data from 20 studies around the world, concluding that those who eat four ounces of fresh (not processed) red meat every day face no increased risk of heart disease.

According to Scientific American, growing research into carbohydrate-based diets has demonstrated that the medical establishment may have harmed Americans by steering them toward carbs. Research by Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, concludes that diets rich in carbohydrates that are quickly digestible — like potatoes, white rice and white bread — increase the risk of diabetes and make people far more likely to contract cardiovascular disease than those who eat moderate amounts of meat and fewer carbs. Though federal guidelines now emphasize eating fiber-rich carbohydrates, which take longer to digest, the incessant message over the last 30 years to substitute carbs for meat may have done significant damage.

So far, it doesn’t appear that the government will change its approach. The preliminary recommendations of a panel advising the FDA on the new guidelines urge people to shift to “plant-based” diets and to consume “only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.””

For the full article see:

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-malanga-dietary-guidelines-20100718,0,2205200.story

New Zealand authorities too have not changed guidelines despite these studies, telling people to consume at least 6 servings of grains per day, and reduce fat.
http://www.healthed.govt.nz/uploads/docs/HE1518.pdf

I seriously question the science behind eating this much grain and not encouraging more consumption of fibrous vegetables, and quality protein and fat. The NZ Government are still only recommending 3 servings plus of vegetables per day, which calorie for calorie are far higher in nutrients and good fibre than grain products.
And when a leading New Zealand Medical specialist (Dr Rodney Ford) is telling us that at least 1 in 10 are gluten sensitive – WHY do they keep recommending that people eat AT LEAST 6 servings per day of grains.

If it was known that a drug hurt 1 in 10 people when they took it – it would be pulled rapidly from our shelves.

My own experience and that of my clients is that when they remove grains and replace them with colourful and green veggies to balance protein – health improves and fat loss increases.

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