Vitamin Supplements & "Healthy Diets"
By Mary Sparrowdancer c. 2004-2005 by Mary Sparrowdancer www.sparrowdancer.com
- "Many doctors are sceptical about megadose vitamins, arguing that a healthy diet meets most people's needs."
- (From "EU Rules Threatening to Sweep Away Vitamin Pills" - The Observer 12/27/04)
As the EU moves to regulate or limit public access to vitamins and mineral supplements, once again the same tired and worn phrase is heard: "a healthy diet meets most people's needs." Once again, vitamins and mineral supplements are reduced to the status of unnecessary nonsense sought only by the common, the uneducated and the very silly public. And, once again, the stodgy inference is made that a "healthy diet" is always (in these modern times of ours) within our fork's range.
The truth however, is that the majority of the world (including the United States) does not have easy access to a "healthy diet," due in part to the fact that very few people know what a healthy diet actually is. Public officials have been misleading the public as well as the medical community for a number of years regarding what constitutes "a healthy diet."
We are now reaping the consequences of what amounts to a near-global false advertising campaign.
In the United States, where the entire country is currently struggling with an epidemic of epidemics, the epidemics of obesity and diabetes have been blamed on laziness, poor habits, computers, etc. The blame has been assigned to everything except one of the real culprits - the fraudulent Food Pyramid.
Switched before birth, the original Food Pyramid was one designed for optimal health. The real Pyramid was designed to promote the consumption of a diet based primarily upon vegetables and fruits - not starch.
Luise Light, Ed.D, a nutrition expert, was teaching at New York University and broadcasting a popular weekly nutritional radio program in New York when she was recruited (repeatedly) by the USDA to lead the team of experts that would create a new Food Guide to replace the Basic Four. Helping people by teaching them proper nutrition was a lifelong dream, and Dr. Light eventually accepted the USDA's invitation.
After working long and diligently, Light and her team created the Guide that was to become the Food Pyramid. It was submitted to high-ranking authorities within the USDA for approval. When the approved Pyramid finally made its way back to Luise and her team, it had been remade by officials whose main concern was not public health, but industry profit.
Luise described to me her team's reaction upon seeing the "new" Pyramid: "We couldn't believe it!" It bore little resemblance to the Pyramid they had created.
Gone was the team's recommendation that whole grains be limited to 2 to 4 servings, and baked goods consumed only as a rare treat. Gone also were the vegetables and fruits from the most coveted area of the Pyramid - the foundation or base, which was to make up the bulk of the American diet. Taking the place of the vegetables at the foundation were the very grains and starchy foods that the team had recommended for "limited consumption" only.
Turning everything on its head, the new Pyramid called for "6 to 11" servings of starchy grains, cereals, pastas and baked goods daily.
"What possible rationale could there be for such an unprecedented and unjustified switch?" Luise said in a statement to me. "In fact," she continued, "the health consequences of encouraging the public to eat so much refined grain, which the body processes like sugar, was frightening."
The team's exhortations to the political heads of the Agricultural Department, however, fell upon deaf ears. The unassuming public would be given the dangerously revised Pyramid as it stood - catastrophically revised to emphasize dough. The Super Sizing of Americans, which began around 1980 according to the CDC, would now balloon into an epidemic under "official" dietary recommendations.
Obesity, however, would only be one of the more visible clues that something was growing steadily wrong with the American public.