Oct 6, 2010

"New" USDA Dietary Guidelines

Recently I participated in a complementary “health screening” being given by some very nice student nurses at the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market. My blood pressure, body mass index, and blood sugar were checked. I received perfect marks across the board.

Undaunted by the large USDA food pyramid looming in the background of the booth, I shared my “secret” of eating plenty of fat to stabilize my blood sugar. Of course, I was cautioned about the dangers of eating saturated fat to which I replied that I eat LOTS of saturated fat – cream in my whole milk, butter spread thick on my sprouted wheat bread, coconut oil, and fat from grass-fed animals. I told the nurse that my cholesterol scores are good too.

These are the scores from my last check-up (August 2009):

Total cholesterol 189
Triglycerides 49
HDL 64 (HDL over 59 is considered a negative risk factor for heart disease)
LDL 115

(If you would like to watch a very informative video which explains what cholesterol scores really do and do not mean, Dr. Robert H. Lustig, MD, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinologyat the University of California explains it well in this video presentation, "Sugar: The Bitter Truth".)

The sweet nurse I was talking with didn’t know what to say to me. She was just trying to be polite and helpful, and I admit I can be a smidgeon overbearing at times. She is just teaching what she has been taught. I left a Weston A. Price Foundation brochure with the hopes that I might make some small impact on a member of our medical system.

It saddens me that disease and obesity are running rampant in our nation, while our government continues to hold a “death grip” on a food pyramid that promotes a low fat grain-based diet. The USDA dietary guidelines are reviewed and reissued every 5 years, but unfortunately, it looks like we are in for more of the same as the USDA prepares to release “new” dietary guidelines this Fall.

Below you will find the first portion of Weston A. Price Foundation President Sally Fallon Morell’s comments regarding the USDA dietary guidelines.


Current USDA dietary guidelines are based on the flawed notion that cholesterol and saturated fat are unhealthy. They are unrealistic, unworkable, unscientific and impractical; they have resulted in widespread nutrient deficiencies and contributed to a proliferation of obesity and degenerative disease, including problems with growth, behavior and learning in children. The US government is promoting a low fat, plant-based diet that ignores the vital role animal protein and fats have played in human nutrition throughout the ages.

The pyramid with its strictures against fat consumption does not recognize variations in human metabolism. Recommendations for fat restriction are predicated on the assumption that fat causes weight gain and heart disease; several recent studies have shown that that restriction of natural fats actually leads to more obesity in both children and adults, while the refined carbohydrates, polyunsaturated and trans fats that frequently replace natural saturated fats contribute to weight gain and chronic disease. Restriction of animal fats in children leads increased markers for heart disease and to deficiencies of vitamins A, D and K2, needed for growth, strong bones, immunity, neurological function, and protection from tooth decay.


The Weston A. Price Foundation strongly urges the USDA Dietary Guidelines committee to scrap the food pyramid and replace it with the following Healthy 4 Life guidelines, based on four groups of whole foods.

Every day, eat high quality, whole foods to provide an abundance of nutrients, chosen from each of the following four groups:

1. Animal foods: meat and organ meats, poultry, and eggs from pastured animals; fish and shellfish; whole raw cheese, milk and other dairy products from pastured animals; and broth made from animal bones.

2. Grains, legumes and nuts: whole-grain baked goods, breakfast porridges, whole grain rice; beans and lentils; peanuts, cashews and nuts, properly prepared to improve digestibility.

3. Fruits and Vegetables: preferably fresh or frozen, preferably locally grown, either raw, cooked or in soups and stews, and also as lacto-fermented condiments.

4. Fats and Oils: unrefined saturated and monounsaturated fats including butter, lard, tallow and other animal fats; palm oil and coconut oil; olive oil; cod liver oil for vitamins A and D.

Avoid: foods containing refined sweeteners such as candies, sodas, cookies, cakes etc.; white flour products such as pasta and white bread; processed foods; modern soy foods; polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.

You can read Sally Fallon Morell’s full comments here.


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  1. Here is my dilemma...I need to lose weight. High fat foods are obviously higher calorie. I restrict sugar and white carbs but when it comes to counting calories I have a hard time consuming higher calorie foods like cheese, butter, milk, and meats. How can I lose weight eating this high calorie food?

  2. Melissa -
    You would enjoy reading "Eat Fat, Loose Fat" - it's in the library and I have a copy (but another friend has it currently.) If I remember correctly, in the first half of the book, the authors go into great scientific detail as to why eating fats are essential to loosing weight. The second half is HOW to eat a higher fat diet, complete with recipes.

    Another book that was helpful to me was "The Schwarzbein Principle" also in the library. It's written by an endocrinologist and explains why we need good fats to help balance blood sugar and keep hormones healthy.



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