Every five years, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The 2020-2025 edition was recently announced.
This collection of guidelines is published after an advisory committee of scientists make recommendations for updates based on the latest data on nutrition and health. However, their recommendations are not always included in the finished product.
A combination of politics and lobbying efforts seem to have once again prevented the new guide from offering the best possible recommendations for the health of Americans. So let’s take a critical look at the new guidelines to determine if they should be considered by Savers and the American people.
2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines For Americans
The USDA and HHS publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in an attempt to provide science-based advice on dietary habits to maintain health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. The most significant change in the latest edition is the inclusion of guidelines for different stages of life.
The guide provides dietary advice for:
- Infants and toddlers (birth through 23 months)
- Children and Adolescents (ages 2-18)
- Adults (ages 19-59)
- Women who are pregnant or lactating
- Older Adults (ages 60 and older)
The guidelines generally focus on balancing diet between the food groups that contain nutrient-dense foods, while staying within calorie limits.1
According to the report, the core elements of a healthy diet are:1
- Vegetables (including greens, beans, peas and lentils, and starchy veggies)
- Fruits and in particular whole fruit
- Grains of which at least half should be whole grain
- Proteins like beans, nuts, seeds, or lean meats, poultry and eggs
- Oils from vegetables, and those found in seafood and nuts
The guidelines also recommend dairy, which of course is wrong. We know that milk and most milk products don't offer unique health benefits, and in fact, have many detriments. The guidelines do offer alternatives such as fortified soy beverages and yogurt as alternatives.
In spite of this outdated and incorrect advice, the majority of the guidelines are in alignment with our most up-to-date science. The recommendation of fruits, veggies, legumes, and nuts is in excellent alignment with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans has the purpose of providing science-based advice on how to stay healthy by eating a balanced and nutrient-dense diet. They recommend a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, proteins (including plant sources of protein), and healthy oils from vegetables, seafood, and nuts. However, they also recommend milk and other health-damaging dairy products.
Guidelines And Special Considerations For Older Adults
The guidelines highlight how a healthy diet facilitates healthy aging. They also note that it's never too late to make improvements.
All of the guidelines above for the consumption of a variety of healthy foods apply to older adults. The guide points out that calorie needs in this age range are reduced. Women typically require from 1,600 to 2,200 calories per day, while men require about 2,000 to 2,600 calories.1
Where those calories come from makes an enormous difference in health and longevity. The report includes statistics from dietary surveys. Americans aged 60 and older rarely meet the recommended intake of vegetables, fruits, grains, or protein. While men typically eat enough grains and protein, the survey also shows that they are not consuming enough whole grains or a wide enough variety of protein sources.
This unhealthy dietary pattern is exacerbated by overconsumption of added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. More than half of all older adults exceed the recommended intake limits. To make matters worse, experts have contended that the limits set by the guidelines do not go far enough to prevent negative health outcomes. We'll take a closer look at that later.
The guide offers several special considerations for people aged 60 and up. They include the following:1
- Get more of your protein from seafood, fortified foods, and plant sources like beans, peas, and lentils. A wide variety of protein sources is essential for good health.
- Eat more foods rich in Vitamin B12 and take a supplement if appropriate.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, choose unsweetened beverages, and include hydrating foods in your diet.
- Physical activity is essential for good health. Older adults need 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week. Incorporate balance training and muscle-strengthening activities as well.
Most older adults don't eat enough nutrient-dense foods. Most older adults consume too much added sugar, saturated fat, and sodium. The report advises that older adults eat a greater variety of proteins, focus on getting enough B12, stay hydrated, and do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
The USDA's Recommended Dietary Limits
In addition to advice on what to eat more of, the report offers several quantitative guidelines for dietary limits for adults of all ages:1
- Limit added sugars to less than 10% of calories per day
- Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day
- Limit sodium to less than 2,300mg per day
- Limit alcoholic beverages (if you consume any) to 2 drinks or less a day for men, and 1 or less for women
The advisory committee recommended that the USDA and HHS change two of these limits in light of recent scientific research. However, the governmental organizations decided to ignore the recommendation of the committee and did not amend the guidelines.
The guidelines recommend limiting added sugar and saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day each, limiting sodium to under 2,300mg per day, and limiting alcoholic beverages to two per day for men and one per day for women.
The Guide Ignored The Advisory Committee's Recommendations
The advisory committee is made up of 20 academics and doctors selected for their prestigious qualifications and expertise in the fields of nutrition and medicine. They review the most recent scientific literature on the relationships between diet, nutrition, health, and disease.
In July of last year, the committee submitted its recommendations for the dietary guide so it would reflect a healthy diet based on the most up-to-date knowledge.
The committee recommended that the dietary guide reduce the limit for added sugars from 10% down to 6% of daily calories. They based this recommendation on their research showing that obesity is linked to Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.2
They also recommended that the guide reduce the daily limit on alcoholic beverages for men from two per day to one per day– the same limit set for women. The committee made this suggestion based on research that linked greater alcohol consumption to a higher risk of death.2
The USDA and HSS rejected both of these recommendations, even though they were made by the scientists they themselves appointed.
The 20-member advisory committee of academics and doctors made two notable recommendations for changes to the guide: reduce the added sugar limit to 6% of daily calories, and reduce the limit on alcoholic beverages for men to one per day. The USDA and HSS rejected these recommendations.
Big Food Influences The Dietary Guidelines Process
This shocking decision highlights the all too common gap between the research published by the scientific community and the recommendations made by the Establishment. The reason for this disconnect is a familiar one: financial gains.
Food industry groups spend millions of dollars lobbying members of Congress and the officials in charge of the dietary guide. Congressional lobbying expenditures are public due to the legal requirement for lobbyists to file disclosure forms.
Quarterly forms filed by Big Food lobbying groups in 2014-2015 (while the last edition of the guide was in development) reveal that they spent more than $77 million trying to influence public policy– including the dietary guide.3
Research conducted by a senior analyst for the Union of Concerned Scientists turned up the following lobbying expenditures from Big Food companies:3
- Candybar maker Mars Incorporated: $2 million (2018-2019)
- A consortium of big meat processors and their lobbying groups: $4.5 million (2014-2015)
- American Beverage Association, Coca-Cola, and PepsiCo – $23.8 million (2014-2015)
Unsurprisingly, these massive expenditures have had their desired end result. They influenced governmental organizations to reject the advice of scientists and make decisions that benefit them.
Food industry groups spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress and officials to get results that favor their products. As a result, the recommendations of the Establishment are often not aligned with the latest scientific research or with the best interests of public health.
Another Reason We Can't Trust The Medical Establishment
This is yet another example of how the Establishment falls prey to the power and influence of corporate interests. As a result, we cannot simply trust their actions or recommendations without digging deeper.
This failure parallels how Big Pharma manipulates the Medical Establishment into prescribing drugs, even when they are ineffective and dangerous.
Fortunately, in both cases, we have access to the scientific literature and can make our own conclusions without the interference of lobbyists and special interest groups.
We know that diet, lifestyle, and exercise can safely and effectively reverse and prevent osteoporosis without drugs. And we know that added sugar and alcohol consumption should be either eliminated or kept to an absolute minimum to prioritize the health of our bones and our whole body.
The influence of corporate lobbyists like Big Food and Big Pharma makes the Establishment untrustworthy. Fortunately, we have direct access to scientific research and can draw our own conclusions.
What This Means To You
The recommendation in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans to consume a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods is fundamentally a good recommendation. It fits neatly within the Osteoporosis Reversal Program's 80/20 pH-balanced diet.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program is completely independent, and based solely on published scientific research. There are no secret lobbyists or corruptible elected officials standing between you and the knowledge compiled there.
Stop Worrying About Your Bone Loss
Join thousands of Savers from around the world who have reversed or prevented their bone loss naturally and scientifically with the Osteoporosis Reversal Program.
Keep following a bone-strengthening diet to provide your body with what it needs to stay strong, healthy, and ready for anything!