FDA Food Guide Pyramid: Nutrition or Not?

Is the FDA Food Guide Killing America?

Why do so many Americans assume that a product bearing the stamp of “FDA approval” is safe and wholesome to eat? Assuming that the FDA is a group of human experts, has anyone actually ever met any of the members of the FDA? Who are these people? What makes them experts? Where do they test all of our food? Why aren’t other people asking these same questions?

In the modern-day clutter of our lives, where there never seems to be enough hours in the day, Americans are eager to utilize any opportunity to delegate responsibility. The escalating rates of cancer and heart disease-related deaths suggest that one of the most common fallacies in delegation pertains to issues concerning health care and nutrition. Americans put their lives in the hands of a faceless entity that they have innately grown to trust and respect. This entity is the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, better known as the FDA. Many Americans don’t realize that over the past several decades, FDA standards have repeatedly been proven false and impractical. In addition, FDA motives have been exposed as dishonest and ill-conceived. These negligent oversights are costing American lives. Should the FDA be responsible for adjusting the standard American diet in an effort to lower the rate of preventable deaths? Of course, they should! Why haven’t they already done so? Why are Americans risking their health and their lives everyday by following FDA Guidelines?

Animal products, specifically milk and meat, have inflicted more damage upon the people of this country than nuclear weapons or global warming will ever impose. The ill effects associated with the consumption of animal products greatly outweigh any known benefits. Common complaints that can be directly linked to the consumption of meat and dairy products include: hives, sinusitis, heart disorders, impaired digestion, obesity, dermatitis, edema, acne, gas and bloating, body odor, dry skin, constipation, allergies, asthma, bedwetting, hyperactivity, colitis attacks, headaches, fatigue, colic, anger, depression, congestion, irritability, excess mucus, hemorrhoids, impotence, hormone imbalance, and hot flashes (Balch 418). Wars, drugs, and violent crimes are not the only things killing America. Milk and meat are also killing America.

Milk is one of the most falsely-advertised poisons in the United States. The American Dairy Industry, through its advertising, has crowned milk with a reputation of being a nearly perfect food – especially for children. More recently, however, experts have begun to question the safety of milk – especially for children (Strohecker 180). Joseph Marion points out the fact that humans are the only creatures consuming another animal’s milk. He explains that milk is natural beginning food, specific for each particular species. Cow’s milk, when consumed by humans, forms mucus, creates allergies, and raises cholesterol. The colonic mucus formed by milk blocks nutrient absorption and creates needs for B vitamins and chlorophyll (536). Statistics show that in the United States, more than 50% of all people tested for food allergies have reactions to dairy products. Out of all of the allergic substances, milk products head the list (Appleton 130). Phyllis Balch notes that the April 1991 issue of Nutrition Action health letter states that “almost 70% of the world’s population can’t tolerate lactose, the form of sugar in milk.” According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine, milk may cause diabetes, ovarian cancer, cataracts, iron deficiency, and allergies in both children and adults. Additional medical research associates milk consumption with greater frequency of cancer of the lymph system and gastrointestinal tract (174). Whole milk products contain concentrated fat-soluble pesticides that have been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. They can also contain sulfa drugs and antibiotics (179). According to Balch, “forty percent of all the antibiotics produced in our country are fed to animals.” Balch also refers to a 1996 Congressional Report which concluded that a hormone given to cows to increase milk production poses no health hazard to humans (147). However, scientists whom are unaffected by USDA revenues would probably beg to differ. Another misconception of dairy products is that they seem to offer a false sense of security to those concerned about osteoporosis. In countries where dairy products are not generally consumed, there is actually less osteoporosis than in the United States (Dolby 34). Yet another misconception of milk involves the “pasteurization” process (a process in which the FDA allows a maximum of 100,000 bacteria per teaspoon.) Pasteurization destroys the enzymes needed for calcium absorption. As a result, 50-60% of the calcium in milk is not digestible (566). (Human) milk “does a body good”, but any other animal’s milk wreaks havoc inside the human body.

Milk’s sidekick in the American massacre is meat. The dangers of the standard American diet have been covered up and ignored for decades, especially where meat consumption is concerned. Phyllis Balch cites a 1961 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, as reporting “a vegetarian diet can prevent 90-97% of heart diseases” (417). Nearly a half a century later, heart disease remains the leading cause of death for Americans and meat stills holds its prominent position on the FDA Food Guide Pyramid. As a result, the average American’s diet is 42% fat (Appleton 138). Leaner cuts of meat rarely make much difference because the fat is marbled all through the meat and cannot be thoroughly removed, even though it may appear to be. The artery-clogging, cholesterol-raising fat in meat is not the only risk factor of concern. Meat is also a large contributor to cancer, the second leading cause of death in the U.S. Two pounds of charcoal-broiled steak contain as much benzopyrene (a cancer-causing agent) as in 600 cigarettes (Balch 417). Plus, when the fat in meat is cooked at high temperatures, such as frying, another cancer-causing substance, methycholantrene, is formed (487). In addition, during the digestion of meat, ammonia is formed. Ammonia is a highly carcinogenic compound, capable of triggering cancer development instantly (Marion 375). America leads the industrialized world in per capita meat consumption, and ranks 27th in life expectancy. Many scientists agree that meat consumption is the main reason why heart disease and cancer have become the leading causes of death in the United States. Dr. Neal D. Barnard, President of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine summed it up nicely when he said:

The beef industry has contributed to more American deaths than all the wars of this century, all natural disasters, and all automobile accidents combined. If beef is your idea of “real food for real people,” you’d better live real close to a real good hospital (Beyond).

Americans who believe meat and milk are ideal sources of protein are dangerously mistaken. In order to survive, the human body needs “complete protein” (protein consisting of all nine essential amino acids.) Americans tend to live under false belief that in order to meet these protein requirements, they must eat meat and drink milk. This is simply not true. The truth is that meat and milk are not the only sources of complete protein.

In fact, meat and milk aren’t even good sources of complete protein. Milk is low in the amino acid “cysteine”, which is needed in order to make a complete protein (Marion 565). Once the supply of a particular essential amino acid is depleted, the protein is no longer complete and cannot perform its duties within the body.

Meat protein is also inadequate for the human body. The body must work very hard to break down meat protein and separate it from its toxic counterpart. By the time this task is accomplished, the human body has used up a lot of energy to detoxify the protein, and must still remove the toxic material from the body. This toxic waste continues to upset body chemistry and interfere with bodily functioning up until the time that it is finally eliminated from the body. These are not little known facts. The FDA knows all about the dangers of milk and meat. So, why doesn’t the FDA inform people of alternative sources of complete protein?

For example, soybeans are a healthy source of complete protein. In addition to providing complete protein, soybeans also provide an array of health benefits. Soybeans are low in saturated fat, high in fiber, and free of cholesterol. The FDA has even recently approved the following health claim on soy food products:

25 grams of soy protein taken once daily can lower cholesterol levels by 10 to 15% – enough to reduce heart attack risk by 30%.

Ironically, the U.S. is the world’s largest producer of soybeans. Yet instead of incorporating these healthy legumes into the American diet, most of the soybean crop is exported to other countries, such as Japan, where heart disease and cancer rates are significantly lower than in the U.S. (Dolby 6). Soybeans also contain large amounts of vitamins, minerals, and phyto-nutrients. Plant foods, in general, are richer in nutrients than their animal counterparts. For example, in a comparison of wheat germ to round steak, ounce for ounce, wheat germ contains twice the vitamin B2, vitamin K, potassium, iron, and copper; three times the vitamin B6, molybdenum, and selenium; fifteen times the magnesium; and over twenty times the vitamin B1, folate, and inositol. The steak only has three nutrients in greater amounts: vitamin B12, chromium, and zinc. Most vegetables contain less than 10 percent fat, and most grains contain from 16 to 20 percent fat. Whole milk and cheese contain 74 percent fat. A rib roast contains 75 percent fat, and eggs are 64 percent fat. The difference in nutritional value between animal foods and plant foods is huge. So, why does the FDA overlook these factors that are killing America?

I agree with Dr. Joel Wallach, who once said, “One single sentence has killed more people than all the wars in American History, ‘You get all the nutrition you need from the four food groups.'” The four food groups as promoted in the FDA Food Guide Pyramid remind me of the Bermuda Triangle. Consumption of animal products poses serious health risks and hastens death. The fact that the FDA continues to back and promote these foods is a good indicator that the FDA may not be serving the consumers’ best interests. There is a lot of money involved in the FDA issues. There are also other entities affected, such as the medical industry, pharmaceutical companies, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to name a few.

It may be difficult for some people to accept the concept of conspiracy, especially when it involves a group that has been trusted for so many years. However, the scientific facts and the death statistics are strong evidence that something is very wrong with the standard American diet. The FDA is fully aware of the serious health risks associated with the consumption of animal products. Their continued endorsement of the deadly fallacies of the American diet should encourage every American citizen to take their health into their own hands.

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