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Black Lives Depend on the U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/08/03/black-lives-depend-us-dietary-guidelines

Just as another article (~https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/08/04/democratic-bill-banning-toxic-pesticides-us-applauded-much-needed-step-protect-kids) discusses banning certain pesticides (which I support 100%), the government needs to go a lot farther than just putting out correct information. I liked the piece here, and the author, Michelle Holmes, does mention the topic of school lunches (prepared by the government so it isn’t just a question of information at that point), but I think it’s pretty clear than 99% of the black populace, and 99% of any other group you can think of outside of very select interested groups just isn’t going to get exposed to the recommendations of U.S Dietary Guidelines.

As a vegan, I value the USDA for doing one thing - providing a large database of foods broken down to every possible category (all vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids, etc.). I can use this to track my amino acid intake which after around 20 years of being vegetarian and 10 yeas being vegan, I am going to finally track to see how my intake of lysine and methionine is doing. The USDA has changed the way they provide this data and now it is a mess if you ask me - you have to know how to deal with Microsoft Acess I guess which I don’t. If anyone wants to get the database, I recommend ~https://www.myfooddata.com/, but it may not be obvious where they put the master spreadsheet which is at ~https://tools.myfooddata.com/nutrition-facts-database-spreadsheet.php and then click “Click to Download the Excel file”.

But as far as the USDA recommending how much added sugar, how many carbs, fat, protein, how many calories per day for my size, etc. I never found them all that helpful - if you start searching you run into much more helpful info other places (especially if you are searching for vegan info).

I ended up concluding I’d try to take a normal 2100 cal diet for my size and level of activity and lop off 500 cal to try to lose about 2 kg/month for 4 months while still keeping protein at the relatively high 1.2 g/kg level which for me results in 20% protein and having up to 35% fat (by calories) which I figure will help keep me satiated. Then at my target weight, I’ll up the calories while keeping the protein (in grams) about the same dropping to about 16% protein which is a bit easier for a vegan than 20% (yep I’m eating a lot of tempeh and tofu and using pea protein powder in smoothies).

When Bloomberg wanted to ban the big soft drinks, many panned him (including me). But that’s because I think portion control is stupid - we need to ban the actual crap food to begin with. I don’t have any problem with stores that want to sell cereal or companies that want to market cereal being forced to not go over a certain amount of added sugar per 100 calories and if they don’t, don’t give them permission to sell (of course, people can just spoon on sugar themselves and I wouldn’t ban sugar). Whistle blowers in the food industry have said that scientists work on the exact combination of fat, salt, and sugar to hit so that it is as hard as possible to stop eating a given processed product. Is that what we want scientists doing? Figure out some regulation and start proposing - portion control will have to be done by the consumer but we can regulate what is sold. I don’t think we’ll make real progress until we do.