Dietary Guidelines for Americans
I recently read the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) executive summary. While I commend their efforts to promote eating more “nutrient-dense” foods, I just can’t get behind the need for dairy, grains, and “little to no added sugar.” The DGA’s purpose is to provide “science-based advice on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs.” I think we can do better.
Why are humans the only species that drinks milk after infancy and drinks milk from another species? How did we let this become our reality? Yes, we need calcium, and milk has calcium, but did you know our bodies are more efficient at getting calcium from:
- Collard greens
- Broccoli rabe
- Bok choy
- Canned salmon
So why then does the DGA recommend that dairy is one of the “core elements that make up a healthy dietary pattern”?
I won’t go into whole versus refined grains in this discussion but suffice to say that anything with the word “refined” in it is simply a non-food and something the human body does not need.
We know that whole grains tend to be high in many nutrients, including fiber, B vitamins, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and selenium. We also know that pears, strawberries, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and avocado are high in fiber. Beef, chicken, fish, eggs, seeds, and nuts are high in B vitamins. For our minerals like magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and selenium, the following foods are high in these minerals:
- Broccoli, cauliflower, swiss chard, and Brussels sprouts
- Magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and selenium.
- Nuts and seeds
- Organ meats
- Leafy green vegetables
Do you see some repeating foods full of what we need like calcium, B vitamins, and minerals?
Humans do not need it, added or not. Period. Okay, I’m going to say a little more on this topic…sugar and the 50+ other names for sugar have no nutritional value whatsoever. The value is that sugar makes us hungry for more food, and that is why the food industry puts sugar or a variety of sugar in almost everything! If you do not believe me, then I challenge you to download the list of 50+ names for sugar at the end of this post and then go through your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer looking for food that does NOT have one of these ingredients in it. Good luck!
So, where do we go from here? DGA guidelines, thank you for recommending we consume as many nutrient-dense foods as possible, based on our cultural preferences and budgets. However, I think we can do better to live healthier lives and reverse our global diet crisis. We do not need dairy and if asked can we live without grains, my answer is “yes”.
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