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I recently picked up a book titled ” The China Study”, which was published in 2006.  After having read it from cover to cover, I was flabbergasted – to say the least – and hope anyone who reads this post will read it as well. It’s an eye opener.

During the past two to three decades, we have acquired substantial evidence that most chronic diseases in America can be partially attributed to bad nutrition. Expert government panels have said it, the surgeon general has said it and academic scientists have said it. More people die because of the way they eat than by tobacco use, accidents or any other lifestyle or environmental factor. We know that the incidence of obesity and diabetes is skyrocketing and that the Americas’ health is slipping away, and we know what is to blame: diet. So shouldn’t the government be leading us to better nutrition? There is nothing better the government could do that would prevent more pain and suffering in the country than telling Americans unequivocally to east least animal products, less highly-refined plant products and more whole, plant-based foods. It is a message soundly based on the breadth and depth of scientific evidence, and the government could make this clear, as it did wit cigarettes. Cigarettes kill, and so do these bad foods. But instead of doing this, the government is saying that animal products, dairy and meat, refined sugar and fat in your diet are good for you.

The government is turning a blind eye to the evidence as well as to the millions of Americans who suffer from nutrition-related illness. The covenant of trust between the U.S. government and the American citizen has been broken. The Untied States government is not only failing to put out our fires, it is actively fanning the flames.

Dietary Ranges: The Latest Assault

The Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), as part of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences, has the responsibility every five years or so to review and update the recommended consumption of individual nutrients. The FNB has been making nutrient recommendations since 1943 when it was established a plan for the U.S. Armed Forces wherein it recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for each individual nutrient.

In the most recent FNB report, published in 2002, nutrient recommendations are presented as rangers instead of single numbers, as was the practice until 2002. For good health, we are now advised to consume 45% to 65% of our calories as carbohydrates. There are ranges for fat and protein as well.

A few quotes from the news release announcing this massive 900+ page report say it all. Here is the first sentence in the news release.

To meet the body’s daily energy and nutritional needs while minimizing risk for chronic disease, adults should get should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat and 10% to 35% from protein …

Further on, we find:

… added sugars should comprise no more that the 25% of total calories consumed … added sugars are those incorporated into foods and beverages during production and major sources include candy, soft drinks, fruit drinks, pastries and other sweets.

Let’s take a closer look. What are these recommendations really saying? Remember, the news release starts off by stating the report’s objective of  “minimizing the risk for chronic disease.” This report says that we can consume a diet contaning up to 35% of calories as fat; this is up from the 30% limit of previous reports. It also recommends that we can consume up to 35% of calories as protein; this number is far higher that the suggestion of any other responsible authority.

The last recommendations puts the frosting on the cake, so to speak. We can consume up to 25% of calories as added sugars. Remember, sugars are the most refined type of carbohydrates. In effect, although the report advises that we need a minimum of 45% calories as carbohydrates, more than half of this amount (i.e., 25%) can be the sugars present in candies, soft drinks and pastries. The critical assumption of this report is this:  the American diet is not only the best there is, , but you should now feel free to eat an even richer diet and still be confident that you are “minimizing risk for chronic disease.” Forget any words of caution you may find in this report – with such a range of possibilites, virtually any diet can be advocated as minimizing disease risk.

You may have trouble getting your mind around what these figures mean in everyday terms, so I have prepared the following menu plan that supplies nutrients in accordance with these guidelines.

Chart 16.1 – Sample Menu That Fits Into The Acceptable Nutrient Ranges

Meal                                                                                                    Foods

Breakfast                                                                                            1 cup Froot Loops

                                                                                                               1 cup skim milk

                                                                                                               1 package M&M milk chocolate candies

                                                                                                               Fiber and vitamin supplements

Lunch                                                                                                  Grilled cheddar cheeseburger

Dinner                                                                                                 3 slices pepperoni pizza, 1-160z. soda

                                                                                                                1 serving Archway sugar cookies

Chart 16.2 – Nutrient Profile Of Sample Menu And Report Recommedations

Nutrient                                                                          Sample Menu Content                                              Recommended

Total Calories                                                                          1800                                                                    Varies by height/weight

Protein (% of total calories)                                               18%                                                                               10-35%

Fat (% of total calories)                                                        31%                                                                               20-35%

Carbohydrates (% of total calories)                                 51%                                                                              45-65%

Sugars in Sweets, or Added Sugars                                  23%                                                                               Up to 25%                                     (% of total calories)

I’m not kidding – This disastrous menu plan fits the recommendations of the report and is supposedly consistent with “minimizing chronic disease.”

What’s amazing is that I could put together a variety of menus, all drenched in animal foods and added sugars, that conform to the recommended daily allowances. At this point in the book, I don’t need to you that when we eat a diet like this day in and day out, we will be not just marching , but sprinting into the arms of chronic disease. In sad fact, this is what a large portion o f our population already does.

Protein

Perhaps the most shocking figure is the upper limit on protein intake. Relative to total calorie intake, only 5-6% dietary protein is required to replace the protein regularly excreted by the the body (as amino acids). About 9-10% protein, however, is the amount that has been recommended for the past 50 years to be assured that most people at least get their 5-6% “requirement.”  This 9-10% recommendation is equivalent to the well-known recommended daily allowance, or RDA.

Almost all Americans exceed this 9-105 recommendation; we consume protein within the range of about 11-21%, within an average of about 15-16%. The relatively few people consuming more than 21% protein mostly are those who “pump iron,” recently joined by those on high-protein diets.

It is extremely puzzling that these new government-sponsored 2002 FNB recommendation now say that we should be able to consume protein up to the extraordinary level of 35% as means of minimizing chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. This is an unbelievable travesty, considering the scientific evidence. The evidence presented in this book shows that increasing dietary protein within the range of about 10-20% is associated with a broad array of health problems, especially when most of the protein is from animal sources.

Furthermore, the FNB panel had the audacity to say that this 10-35% recommendation range is the same as previous reports. Their press release clearly states, “protein intake recommendations are the same as previous reports.” I know of no report that has even remotely suggested a level as high as this.

When I initially saw this protein recommendation, I honestly though that it was a printing error. I know several of the people on the panel who wrote this report and decided to give them a ring. The first panel member, a long-time acquaintance, said this was the first time he had even heard about the 35% protein limit! He suggested that this protein recommendation might have been drafted in the last days of preparing the report. He also told me that there was little discussion of the evidence on protein, for or against a high consumption level, although he recollected there being some pro-Atkins sympathy on the committee. He had not worked in the protein area, so he did not know the literature. In any event, this important recommendation slipped through the panel without much notice and made the first sentence of the FNB release!

The second panel member, a long-time friend and colleague, was a subcommittee chair during the latter part of the panel’s existence. He is not a nutritional scientist and also was surprised to hear my concerns about the upper limit for protein. He did not recall much discussion on the topic either. When I reminded him of some of the evidence linking high-animal protein diets to chronic disease, he initially was a little defensive. But with a little mor persistence on my part about the evidence, he finally said, “Colin, you know that I really don’t know anything about nutrition.” How, the, was he a member – let alone the char – of this important subcommittee? And it gets worse. The chair of the standing committee on the evaluation of these recommendations left the panel shortly before its completion for a senior executive position in a very large food company – a company that will salivate over these new recommendations.

All of the above comes The China Study – except for my brief introduction.

Thank the author – T. Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell II – for all of their work – and I hope that you get this book and read it word by word.

Wishing all of you the best of health.

 

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(WP) – Under pressure from agriculture industry lobbyists and lawmakers from agricultural states, the Environmental Protection Agency wants to drop requirements that factory farms report their emissions of toxic gases, despite findings by the agency’s scientists that the gases pose a health threat.

cows.jpg

 

Under an EPA proposal, large farms would no longer have to report emissions of toxic gases from animal waste.

 

The EPA acknowledges that the emissions can pose a threat to people living and working nearby, but it says local emergency responders don’t use the reports, making them unnecessary. But local air-quality agencies, environmental groups and lawmakers who oppose the rule change say the reports are one of the few tools rural communities have for holding large livestock operations accountable for the pollution they produce.

Opponents of the rule change say agriculture lobbyists orchestrated a campaign to convince the EPA that the reports are not useful and misrepresented the effort as reflecting the views of local officials. They say the plan to drop the reporting requirement is emblematic of a broader effort by the Bush-era EPA to roll back federal pollution rules.

“One of the running themes we have seen is they have taken numerous industry-friendly actions that are shot down in the courts, but they buy time for industry” in appeals and reviews that could extend years into the next administration, said Frank O’Donnell, president of Clean Air Watch, a nonprofit environmental group based in Washington.

The EPA requirement that farms report large emissions of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide from animal manure has been on the books since the 1980s. The EPA does not set limits for the releases; it merely requires that farms disclose emissions over certain levels. Local public health officials say that if people in an area started getting sick with symptoms pointing to emissions, knowing who was reporting big releases of the gases would be most helpful.

The EPA proposed dropping the farm emissions reporting requirement in the aftermath of lawsuits brought by communities against several big farms sought damages and stricter controls of emissions.

The livestock industry has lobbied for years for the rule change. The EPA posted the proposal in the Federal Register while Congress — which is deeply divided on the issue — was on its December holiday recess. The change would take effect in October.

“Every major air pollution regulation that affects the agriculture industry has been weakened or delayed by this administration,” said S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, which represents local and state air-quality agencies. “These are not inconsequential pollutants. In large concentrations, they kill people.”

Rep. Albert R. Wynn (D-Md.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s subcommittee on environment and hazardous materials, called the proposal a “gift from the Bush administration to big corporate animal-feeding operations that denies the public of knowledge that serious contaminants are in the air.”

The rule change would eliminate ammonia emissions reporting for big animal-feeding operations such as Threemile Canyon Farms in Boardman, Ore., where waste from tens of thousands of dairy cows releases more than 15,000 pounds of ammonia into the atmosphere each day, according to the EPA.

The agency estimates that livestock operations generate two-thirds of the ammonia emissions reported in the nation. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies blames manure-pit emissions containing hydrogen sulfide and ammonia for the deaths of at least two dozen people working or living near the operations in the Midwest over the past three decades.

In a February 2004 memo to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson obtained by congressional investigators, agency scientist Roy L. Smith called the ammonia reporting requirements “appropriately protective, though not overprotective,” of public health. In tests of the air downwind of factory farms, he found that ammonia concentrations slightly over the reportable levels caused respiratory irritation and that the minimum reportable emissions of hydrogen sulfide “could cause acute respiratory irritation and effects to the central nervous system.”

In a petition hand-delivered to Johnson in 2005, however, the National Chicken Council, the U.S. Poultry & Egg Association and the National Turkey Federation called the ammonia reporting rule “inappropriate, unwise public policy, which does not reflect the nature of poultry management practices, and does not improve environmental or public health outcomes in any way.” The groups also said the reports put farms at risk for lawsuits.

Lawmakers from farm states have repeatedly tried to attach provisions exempting farms from emissions reporting. Last March, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin C. Peterson (D-Minn.) and more than 130 lawmakers from agricultural states sponsored a bill that would delist manure as an environmental pollutant under the Superfund law.

The measure came after the cities of Waco, Tex., and Tulsa, Okla., and the state of Oklahoma filed lawsuits charging factory farms nearby with polluting water sources.

Lawmakers who oppose the bill, led by Rep. John D. Dingell (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and House Transportation Committee Chairman James L. Oberstar (D-Minn.), wrote in a May letter to colleagues that the bill “would protect bad actors” and “eliminate all existing authorities from the Superfund statute that have been used by [cities and states] to protect local watersheds and drinking water supplies.”

Peterson responded that “Congress never intended for Superfund to apply to farms, but the judicial system has done just that, threatening the livelihood of farmers and ranchers everywhere.”

One point of contention in the dispute involves a conference call with state and local air pollution control agencies, organized by the EPA in the fall of 2006, that discussed lifting the reporting requirements. Becker of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies said that in the call, the association’s members told the EPA that the health risks posed by the emissions argued against a blanket exemption.

But when Johnson testified before Congress last year on the proposed exemption, the association said, he did not tell lawmakers of the local officials’ opposition. Asked why by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the EPA responded in writing, saying that the agency “did not interpret the discussion as representing an opposition of state and local air pollution control agencies to our proposed plan.”

The EPA said support for the rule change was expressed in 26 “very similar” letters it received from local governments whose emergency responders said they “do not believe such notifications would be of value.”

The leadership of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, believing that the letters were part of an industry-orchestrated campaign, asked the Congressional Research Service to review them. In a Jan. 28 report, the service said that most of the letters were identically worded and that they “represent only a small fraction of the 4,491 [local emergency responders] that are included in EPA’s database.”

On Dec. 28, with Congress away for the holidays, the EPA published a notice in the Federal Register of its plan to proceed with the rule change. The public comment period ends March 28.

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