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Food Politics

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I don't know why I'm suddenly so interested in food politics, but I am.   I feel like I've been duped believing low fat high carb was the way to eat, that 'whole grains' were good for you, etc.  It's really opened my eyes.

How is it that we were all made to believe that canola oil was good for us?  How is it that ketchup is considered a vegetable is school lunches?  How is it that when a company makes something low fat, they load it with sugar instead (ie-skim milk ) and that nutritionists then claim that is healthier?   How is it that wheat has become so genetically modified and that although the industry knows how bad it is for us, that they focus on 'get your whole grains in' and dietitians/nutritionists/doctors follow suit?  Why does the American Heart Association not change their dietary recommendations after studies and studies show that their recommendations are false.  ( i.e They still say coconut oil and eggs are bad ).   Why is it that Oprah can't say anything bad about the meat industry?  Why is it illegal for people to discuss anything that happens in meat packing plants?   Why is it that companies that genetically modify foods like Monsanto get a line item hidden in a bill that passes in congress that allows them not to be sued even if they know the genetically modified organism that is in our food is dangerous?

And, that the American Society of Nutrition ( that creates our food labels ), is funded by food companies and can go as far as making a claim that Fruit Loops can have a nutritional checkmark on the front of the package.

I know it's all big money, and that the drug industry wants to keep us chronically sick, and that different food industries don't want to lose any of their 'stomach share'. 

I happen to have a bachelor of science degree in Food Science and Human Technology ( now that's from 25 years ago - which is seriously out of date, and I never did anything in that field ).   But I'm feeling that I need to update that degree somehow, become an activist, and start making a difference.  ( Of course I have no idea yet on how to make that difference.  )

Thank you so much, Rita, for starting this topic.  It's something I've been thinking about for a long time now and especially since I read Gary Taubes book "Good Calories Bad Calories" (Fats, carbs and the controversial science of  diet and health).   I'm sure most people have heard of the book (if not read it, it's not an easy read) - it's sort of the 'bible' for many in the paleo and low carb communities, and definitely served as a trigger for many.  By the time I finished that book I was enraged. 
Taubes goes into detail how we've all been subject to an involuntary science experiment - mostly due to government intervention to tell us all how to eat! There were other factors as well, and much of it started in the 1940s and 1950s and has continued ever since. 
Taubes also wrote a (much shorter) book aimed at the general population that does not go into nearly as much technical detail as GCBC; this book is "Why we get fat and what to do about it".  It's a good and easy read!
Even though I've read quite a bit on this topic I am still trying to understand it and get my brain around exactly how this all came about.  I don't have time at the moment to write more but I really look forward to hearing what you and others have to say as well as continuing to post what my understanding is on some of the specifics.

I think I may just have to get that book!  (  )  Probably get me even more enraged.  lol

Joan from MN:
I read Taubes' GCBC a few years ago, right before I got into all this Paleo, low carb stuff. Just started reading Taubes' Why We Get Fat and am prepared to get enraged all over again. When I look at the USDA food pyramid and see the recommended 6-11 servings of grains, cereal, and rice PER DAY, I just think WHY??? Even if grains were a good idea, why so many servings? We've been sold a bill of goods in so many ways!
Food politics and nutrition are my passion, and I'll talk about it with any person who is willing to listen. Unfortunately, those people (in daily life anyway) are few and far between, which is why I'm so grateful for this forum, the Wheat Belly blog, and all the other helpful websites. I can just picture the horrified looks on my friends and family members' faces if they saw me melt a whole tablespoon of unsalted butter in my tea this morning. In this respect, I feel like I'm part of a burgeoning underground movement. It's kind of exciting and terrifying at the same time, if that makes sense. 

The little hidden secrets are farm subsidies, under the USDA.  If farmers of wheat/grain/and sugar beets were forced to charge what their product's actual costs are, the general public would soon eat less.  If ranchers, and ultimately feedlots and packing plants, had to pay the actual cost of grain to fatten up those cows/pigs/and chicken for market (without the subsidies to farmers of grain) - we'd soon find a whole bunch grass fed.  Healthier for the consumer, and possibly, cheaper for the consumer.  It all ends up with the American taxpayer footing the bill for some to make money and some, the consumer, to become hideously ill.
Disclaimer:  My husband was raised on a cattle ranch.  Yes, corn fed cows are a lot tastier and tender than grass fed.  If given a choice I'd also go for the grain fed cow.  The only answer I can find is to force Monsanto to stop marketing the GMO grains, they and other companies have developed, to the world.   


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