The problem is that nutritionism gives processed foods a huge advantage over whole foods. Processed foods can be engineered to meet any fad in the marketplace, while a potato is a potato.
So the “loudest foods in the market” Pollan said, are processed foods, touting their nutritional virtues via a $42 billion marketing industry, while “these poor whole foods just sit there silently.”
U.S. Dietary Guidelines
The updated dietary guidelines released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2015 stress healthy eating patterns: all the foods you eat fit together like a puzzle to meet nutritional needs without exceeding limits. That includes saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and total calories.
Like Pollan, the government urges consumers to eat foods that are nutrient-dense, meaning those that contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber, and “other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects.”
The guidelines say a healthy eating pattern includes a variety of vegetables from all the subgroups — dark leafy greens, red and orange vegetables, plus legumes and starches. Your diet should include fruits, especially whole fruits. You also need to eat grains, at least half of them whole grains. Don’t forget to include fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and fortified soy beverages.
The proteins you eat should vary, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes and nuts, seeds, and soy products.
Conversely, you should limit saturated and trans fats, added sugar, and sodium.
The guidelines say you should consume fewer than 10 percent of your daily calories from added sugars and saturated fats, along with fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
“Scientific evidence supporting dietary guidance has grown and evolved over the decades. Previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines relied on the evidence of relationships between individual nutrients, foods, and food groups and health outcomes,” a guideline summary says. “Although this evidence base continues to be substantial, foods are not consumed in isolation, but rather in various combinations over time — an ‘eating pattern.’”
Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
April 09, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN