The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is responsible for publishing Dietary Guidelines for Americans every 5 years. These serve as the basis for school lunch programs, nutritional recommendations in hospitals, and are held as the social norm for what is considered healthy eating. You can find the previous USDA reports (1995 to 2005) here, and the current 2010 one here.
If the guidelines had our best interest at heart, they would reflect the latest nutritional research and objectively inform us of the best possible diet to fend off chronic disease and reverse the rise of metabolic syndrome.
Unfortunately, that’s not entirely the case. The guidelines are more a reflection of political forces and a tool to market US-made food products rather than a guide to better the health of Americans. Following on last week’s article, I’d like to look at the long-standing relationship between the USDA and processed food manufacturers.
Case in point: the ready-to-eat breakfast cereal industry.
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