The New York Times article prompted me to think, why do we need updated food guidelines? There is no good reason. The basics of food have been understood for ages. New products, and new science results seem to merely reinforce what was already assumed. The standard for communicating advice should be—the tried and true. Until, the tried and true are proven false. The standard of “promote what is proven in science, or sound science as many like to say,” is flawed in that it assumes, science will prove all knowledge. This presumption is just not true. Some will argue that tried and true knowledge about nutrition does not exist–laughable. How we confuse the fact that people ate and stayed alive long before the establishment of institutions that provide food to seek a profit. Really, if the society & government, put the burden of proof on those seeking profit, there would be less money but greater health.
Stating that the USDA is conflicted, is a fresh reflection of the truth. I’m reminded of a meeting I had with a USDA director in 2000 or 2001. During the meeting, I proposed an argument in support of a position I wanted the USDA to take regarding global trade in some particular agricultural goods. My argument was based on economics. The director reminded me, “some of us don’t have such a global responsibility, my role is to promote American agricultural goods.” Well then I said to myself, economics, good business sense, and the good of consumers really don’t matter then, only farmers count–Same is true for USDA dietary guidelines.
The article goes on to mention the influence of Oprah and WalMart in promoting dietary advice. I say leave them alone. When people have trouble getting their message heard, it seems they always point out others with “loud voices” as being flawed. It is jealously, plain and simple. Those who think they have the right advice, work on your message. Complaining that others drown you out, is ridiculous in this day and age of social communication. With blogs, twitter, facebook, and the hundreds of other methods of communication, a renewed focus of message, and the needs and wants of the audience is crucial to success. Whining about others ills is so unbecoming.