Dietary Guidelines for Americans are a failed human experiment: Radke Report
For nearly 40 years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been the cornerstone of our nutritional policies and programs in this country.
These recommendations, which are updated every five years, are the blueprint followed by many of our nation’s food programs including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Special Nutritional Program for Women, Infants, & Children, meal plans for the elderly in nursing homes, school lunch programs, hospitals, the military, day care centers, and more.
In education, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are taught in the public school system and reinforced in medical school, where doctors, nutritionists and dietitians learn the tenants of this food system.
The guidelines then shape our food producers, agricultural policies and our food supply trends, as well.
According to the Nutrition Coalition, since the introduction of the guidelines in 1980, the health of Americans has sharply declined.
Did you know that 14.5% of toddlers in WIC are obese?
Does it surprise you to learn that our life expectancy in the U.S. is declining, with obesity being a major contributing factor?
A whopping 18.5% of all U.S. kids are considered obese, and more than two-thirds of American adults are now overweight. More than half are pre-diabetic or diabetic.
Even more alarming, 7% of our troops are now obese, as well, and these figures leave one asking, what is going on in this country?
Many “experts” would tell you it’s simply the result of too many calories consumed and not enough energy exerted.
However, a look at what we are consuming, not just how much we are consuming tells a much different story.
New information shows that Americans have followed the guidelines very well since their inception in 1980, with disastrous results.
Our per-capita consumption of fresh vegetables is up 20%; fresh fruits up 35%; grains are up 28% and vegetable oils are up an astronomical 87%.
Meanwhile, since 1970, our consumption of whole milk is down 79%; eggs are down 13%; animal fats have decreased by 28% and Americans also consume 9% less butter in favor of margarine and low-fat plant-based substitutes.
What’s worse, in the last round of guideline updates, the committee wouldn’t even consider evaluating low-carbohydrate diets, despite the growing evidence that curtailing the consumption of grains and sugars in favor of meat, dairy and eggs could improve and eliminate many metabolic diseases.
Nina Teicholz is the author of “The Big Fat Surprise: Why Butter, Meat & Cheese Belong In A Healthy Diet” In the book, she writes, “Over the past decade, thousands of scientists, doctors and others have urged officials overseeing our nation’s nutrition policy to pay attention to studies on low-carbohydrate diets, yet even as the science has advanced rapidly, the federal agencies in charge of the guidelines seem ever-more intent on ignoring and, yes, burying the science.
“The literature on low-carb is now vast. A quick search for ‘low-carbohydrate’ on pubmed.gov, a government database of scientific studies, today turns up 7,821 publications, including 858 clinical trials (the most rigorous kind of evidence). Compare this to the 401 trials on the ‘vegetarian diet,’ which has been formally recommended by the U.S. guidelines since 2015.
“In March, the USDA launched its process for the 2025 guidelines by publishing a draft list of scientific questions, which did not include a single query on low-carb diets. If no question is asked, no review gets done, and this would mean that the guidelines would have no chance of including a low-carbohydrate option until the 2030 guidelines or later.
“The public, given a month to comment, was clearly upset. Nearly 80% of the total comments, or some 1,200 individuals, urged the USDA (and Health and Human Services) to consider the extensive scientific literature on low-carb.
"Carbohydrate restriction is currently the only whole-foods approach that can reverse a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. It also improves the vast majority of cardiovascular risk factors. In a nation where a least 88% of the public has the features of metabolic disease, it seems self-evident that the scientific literature on this nutritional option should at least be considered. Disadvantaged populations are especially in need of more choices, as they suffer disproportionately from diet-related diseases and also rely more heavily on food from federally funded programs. But the only way to create change is if the Dietary Guidelines considers low-carb as an option. Not as a prescription, just an option.”
Without question, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are a failed experiment on human health. As citizens, we should say no more to biased recommendations that fail to recognize the importance of animal fats and proteins in the diet for optimal human health.
Amanda Radke is a fifth-generation rancher from Mitchell who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State University with a degree in agricultural communications, education and leadership, Radke is a blogger for BEEF Daily blog.