I won’t mince words here: Eating healthy isn’t for the faint of heart.
Yes, it can be extremely decadent and delicious. But there are things you’re going to have to give up, no matter what—so you might as well make sure you’re giving up the right things.
And needless to say, it doesn’t appear that the USDA knows healthy eating from a hole in the ground.
As I pointed out on Tuesday, their “new” dietary guidelines look an awful lot like their old ones—and Americans continue to get more obese by the day. So let’s take a closer look at what types of foods they’re recommending. And then I’ll tell you what you should be eating instead…
More misguided guidance
The USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend the following foods for good health:
1.) Vegetables of all types (dark green; red and orange; beans, peas, and lentils; starchy; and other vegetables). Sure, veggies are obviously great. But let’s call a legume a legume—beans, peas, and lentils aren’t And starchy veggies? You can thank the potato lobby for that nonsense.
2.) Fruits (especially whole fruit). I’m sorry, but is there any other kind of fruit than whole fruit? Am I missing something?! I will also point out that, while some fruits (like berries) are fine in small quantities, others are packed with fructose—a sugar with links to heart disease and cancer.
3.) Grains, at least half of which are whole grain. Oh, I love this one—“at least half.” First of all, even whole grains aren’t particularly healthy. But I think it’s safe to say that there’s no redeeming value to “white foods,” whether we’re talking about rice, bread, or pasta. And there’s really no reason grains need to be a part of your diet—even for “heart health.”
4.) Dairy, including fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese, and lactose-free versions; and fortified soy beverages and yogurt as alternatives. Seriously—I don’t even know where to begin with this one. Fat-free, low-fat, lactose-free, or fortified—it all means one thing: processed. (And therefore, unhealthy.)
5.) Protein foods, including lean meats, poultry, and eggs; seafood; beans, peas, and lentils; and nuts, seeds, and soy products. Ok, but… do you see a pattern emerging here? How many times has genetically modified soy been thrust into the conversation?
6.) Oils, including vegetable oils and oils in food, such as seafood and nuts. Did they forget the fact that vegetable oils—which America produces first and foremost—are hideous by their very nature? Would it really be so hard to eliminate vegetable oils (like soybean and canola oil) from their recommendations entirely? And instead, recommend healthy oils with good fats—like macadamia nut oil, avocado oil, and olive oil.
Take their guidance with a grain of salt
Now, I probably don’t need to point out that this isn’t the first time that the USDA has ended up in my crosshairs. And it’s certainly not the first time that their questionable stance on sugar, in particular, has raised an eyebrow.
As I reminded you on Tuesday: Sugar kills. And you should eliminate it from your diet completely. (That’s what the guidelines should read!)
But because it’s also one of the main crops subsidized by the government, they’re not likely to ban it anytime soon. And if they continue to insist that 50 grams per day is an acceptable amount of sugar to consume, you can bet the farm that this is one reason why.
So really, it’s up to you to do your own regulating. And to limit how much—if any—is allowed in your house.
You can start by reading the ingredients lists of the food you buy very carefully. It’s surprising how many seemingly “healthy” foods hide sugar, corn syrup, and refined carbohydrates. (Soups, stocks, and sauces are especially common offenders—not to mention processed meats like bacon or sausage.)
Other ingredients to avoid include honey, concentrated fruit juice, barley malt, rice syrup, cane sugar, agave, maple sugar, and anything that ends in “-ose” or “-ol.”
But the simplest approach is to avoid packaged, processed foods—and ignore the rest of the USDA’s ridiculous guidance—altogether. Instead, follow a naturally sugar-free (and fat- and protein-rich) plan like my A-List Diet, which focuses on fresh, whole foods like lean protein, nutritious, non-starchy veggies, and nuts. You’ll have countless health benefits to gain—and perhaps a few pounds to lose!
P.S. Food labeling has been a bone of contention for me for years. In theory, it offers critical information that consumers need to make healthy choices. But in practice? Well, like most things designed to benefit the public’s heath, it’s been co-opted by Big Food’s massive marketing machine. So before your next grocery trip, take a moment to review the November 2019 issue of my monthly Logical Health Alternatives to learn all about the “buzzwords” flooding the market—and what those labels really mean. Not yet a subscriber? Become one today
“New Dietary Guidelines Omit Recommended Cuts to Sugar, Alcohol Intake.” Medscape Medical News, 12/29/2020. (medscape.com/viewarticle/943344)