Since, even as a medical professional, I am not enamored with the medical model, I wonder why this is all so difficult. After all, this hospital, or maybe I should say rural regional medical center as they seem to prefer, has been the one over the last four years that has not had the common courtesy to respond to my efforts to connect with them, in the name of healthy options. (If you recall your lesson in Chaos Theory you will know that in nature things require movement from chaos to order in the name of survival. This is called negative entropy. Around here the system is so closed and linked to "the way we have always done it" mentality that little growth occurs. Grow or Die, the title of a cherished book from grad school days, is a very meaningful phrase.)
I guess what bugged me now is their promotion of a "wellness" model. I haven't figured this out because their idea of "integrative care" is massage therapy.
Even the doctors here are so resistant to folks wanting natural treatments that I am not quite sure how they believe this will become an effective system.
Now, wait a minute, could it just be a PR stunt because they now have a government grant?
Ah Ha! Or maybe I should say Eureka!
Now then what caught my eye happened to be their sort of "friendly" plan to observe people, just in case. It is not a bad idea in the generic sense, but it is geared toward Alzheimer's. So now your postman can call in and suggest you might have it and off you'd go to the drug pushing side of things.
Let's not forget that at least 67% of all those diagnosed with Alzheimer's have thyroid glands that are flat out not working! Here the best you can get from the docs is a TSH, and if you are lucky you might also get a T4.
Now of course if you know your endocrinology you know that the TSH cannot tell you about the functioning of the thyroid gland. And the T4 along with the TSH really can't help you know about the T3 part of the equation.
On top of that the Palouse region is part of the down-winder impact area from the Hanford Nuclear Plant and the area water contains natural, and in some places artificial, fluoride.
Lesson Number One: Radiation and Fluoride seriously impact the thyroid gland.
Lesson Number Two: All the pesticide and herbicide sprayed around here adds to thyroid impact as well.
Moving right along, we find a few pages later the dietician's propaganda on the New Food Pyramid.
We can say that the food industry generally controls the USDA, just like the drug companies control the FDA.
Then of course it is the USDA that controls dieticians. Remember dieticians are not nutritionists. And therein lies the difference!
Dr. Louise Light, closely involved in developing the first Food Pyramid, that was scrapped and altered because of food industry pressure on the FDA gives you a real eye view of why the dietician, propagandizing locally, might be harming health. She might also need a direct order to go for remedial education.
Don't forget too that in the old days when you could actually get real milk with cream on the top, there was little in the way of arteriosclerosis.
Then along came homogenization and cardiovascular disease started to go through the roof.
The along came the no-fat and low-fat diet schemes, so along came behavioral and glandular problems because we had not fat to feed the brain, hormone production and strong healthy cell walls (yes indeed, these are made from fat!)
Then along came food additives, prepared and boxed food (and it has taken over the organic food market place too these days, yuk!), and the promotion of processed grains. With a little room for all the toxic artificial sweeteners that are used to try and make the food palatable, added to the GMOs.
Well, around here it is a tough thing to try and educate people. They think they know and are very closed minded to conceiving that the government just might not be on target.
Dr. Light has some good points, read and consider them carefully. Or as my favorite bumper sticker is known to say: "Question Authority".
A Fatally Flawed Food Guide
by Luise Light, Ed.D
As a new Food Guide to replace the Food Pyramid is being considered, it appears our nutritional needs are being sold to the highest bidder ... again! Nutritionist Luise Light, a former USDA insider and an architect of the original version of the Food Pyramid Â that never saw the light of day Â describes the fatal flaws of a government bowing to industry interests.
A former vice president of the National Pork ProducersÂ Council is looking for new ways to educate us on how to eat right. As the director of nutrition and health promotion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Eric Hentges, PhD, is considering catchy jingles and website information to replace the Food Pyramid guide next year. The USDA says that too many consumers are confused by the governmentÂs Food Pyramid and canÂt figure out how to implement the recommendations in the guide, citing the fact that two out of three Americans are too fat.
But perhaps many Americans did follow the Food Pyramid and thatÂs why they ended up overweight! Let me explain.
Back in the early Â80s, I was the leader of a group of top-level nutritionists with the USDA who developed the eating guide that became known as the Food Guide Pyramid. Carefully reviewing the research on nutrient recommendations, disease prevention, documented dietary shortfalls and major health problems of the population, we submitted the final version of our new Food Guide to the Secretary of Agriculture.
When our version of the Food Guide came back to us revised, we were shocked to find that it was vastly different from the one we had developed. As I later discovered, the wholesale changes made to the guide by the Office of the Secretary of Agriculture were calculated to win the acceptance of the food industry. For instance, the Ag SecretaryÂs office altered wording to emphasize processed foods over fresh and whole foods, to downplay lean meats and low-fat dairy choices because the meat and milk lobbies believed itÂd hurt sales of full-fat products; it also hugely increased the servings of wheat and other grains to make the wheat growers happy. The meat lobby got the final word on the color of the saturated fat/cholesterol guideline which was changed from red to purple because meat producers worried that using red to signify ÂbadÂ fat would be linked to red meat in consumersÂ minds.
Where we, the USDA nutritionists, called for a base of 5-9 servings of fresh fruits and vegetables a day, it was replaced with a paltry 2-3 servings (changed to 5-7 servings a couple of years later because an anti-cancer campaign by another government agency, the National Cancer Institute, forced the USDA to adopt the higher standard). Our recommendation of 3-4 daily servings of whole-grain breads and cereals was changed to a whopping 6-11 servings forming the base of the Food Pyramid as a concession to the processed wheat and corn industries. Moreover, my nutritionist group had placed baked goods made with white flour Â including crackers, sweets and other low-nutrient foods laden with sugars and fats Â at the peak of the pyramid, recommending that they be eaten sparingly. To our alarm, in the ÂrevisedÂ Food Guide, they were now made part of the PyramidÂs base. And, in yet one more assault on dietary logic, changes were made to the wording of the dietary guidelines from Âeat lessÂ to Âavoid too much,Â giving a nod to the processed-food industry interests by not limiting highly profitable Âfun foodsÂ (junk foods by any other name) that might affect the bottom line of food companies.
But even this neutralized wording of the revised Guidelines created a firestorm of angry responses from the food industry and their Congressional allies who believed that the ÂfarmersÂ departmentÂ (USDA) should not be telling the public to eat less of anything, including saturated fat and cholesterol, meat, eggs and sugar.
I vehemently protested that the changes, if followed, could lead to an epidemic of obesity and diabetes Â and couldnÂt be justified on either health or nutritional grounds. To my amazement, I was a lone voice on this issue, as my colleagues appeared to accept the Âpolicy levelÂ decision. Over my objections, the Food Guide Pyramid was finalized, although it only saw the light of day 12 years later, in 1992. Yet it appears my warning has come to pass.
DÃ©jÃ vu All Over Again
Here we are again, poised to be served up another helping of Dietary Guidelines in 2005 and a possible replacement for the failed Food Pyramid. This time, can we expect something less compromised and more reflective of what Americans need to achieve good health?
I think not. Ultimately, the food industry dictates the governmentÂs food advice, shaping the nutrition agenda delivered to the public. In fact, to the food industry, the purpose of food guides is to persuade consumers that all foods (especially those that theyÂre selling) fit into a healthful diet.
The government readily complies. The newly recommended Dietary Guidelines, delivered to the government last September by its handpicked advisory committee will almost assuredly be categorically endorsed. The Guidelines include meaningless Â even deceptive Â recommendations like: ÂChoose carbohydrates wisely for good healthÂ (is a breakfast cereal thatÂs 38 percent sugar a ÂwiseÂ choice?) and ÂChoose fats wisely for good healthÂ (are fast food French fries cooked in artery-clogging, partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, a powerful promoter of heart disease, a ÂwiseÂ choice?). Further, in an apparent attempt to make no foods off-limits, the Guidelines give the nod to Âdiscretionary caloriesÂ from added sugars and fats, once basic nutritional needs have been met.
These statements, which will form the basis of all national food and nutrition policy (including all of the U.S. school meal programs), protect every interest group in the food industry by basically setting no limits on any type or amount of fat and carbohydrate consumed. And all of this with the directive to Âcontrol calorie intake to manage body weight.Â Say what?
How and why does the government allow this to happen? As I learned from my days as a USDA nutritionist, nutrition for the government is primarily a marketing tool to fuel growth in consumer food expenditures and demand for major food commodities: meat, dairy, eggs, wheat. ItÂs an economics lesson that has very little to do with our health and nutrition and everything to do with making sure that food expenditures continue to rise for all interests involved in the food industry.
Moreover, the USDA has had a long and cozy relationship with the food industry, whose executives often end up in USDA leadership positions (for instance, Mr. Hentges, formerly of the National Pork ProducersÂ Council and mentioned earlier). In fact, consumer groups requested (unsuccessfully) last year that seven of the 13 panel members who were writing the Food Guidelines, be removed because of their close ties to the food industry. Additionally, hundreds of food industry lobbyists keep the USDA in line Â their line. Agriculture is among the top 10 industries that spend most on lobbying efforts.
ItÂs evident that the government canÂt be relied on to provide objective, health-promoting food and nutrition advice. In the 25 years since the initial Food Guide was developed, we face an unprecedented nutrition crisis. A majority of Americans have poor-quality diets and the rates of diet-related chronic diseases, from cancer, diabetes and heart disease to digestive diseases and arthritis, are soaring. The latest research blames commercial food ingredients, imbalanced diets, excessive calories and too few nutrient and antioxidant-rich vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
Given our national nutrition crisis, itÂs vital that the government deliver state of the art nutrition advice that is unfettered by special interests. Being intimately aware of the governmentÂs internal workings, I suggest the responsibility be moved totally to the Department of Health and Human Services where nutritionists donÂt have ties to the food industry and officials are less likely to knuckle under to pressures from food lobbies. The USDAÂs built-in conflicts of interest must be openly acknowledged so that we can make the shift. Nutrition is too important to leave to anyone whoÂs interest is convincing us to Âjust eat more.Â