May 9, 2016
Healthier eating leads to better health – that is widely known. Half the U.S. adult population has chronic health problems tied to bad diets – and that is widely known. The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020 version, was supposedly just issued to address these problems.
The new report does not deal with the reality faced by large parts of the U.S. population, who live in “food deserts.” These are parts of any city with convenience stores and fast foods but lacking the big grocery chains that allow people more choices. Even at the big grocery stores, foods full of sugar, salt and saturated fat often cost less than the healthier foods. Stores offer large size packages of cookies or ten hot dogs for a dollar, cheaper than fresh fruit or fresh vegetables or fresh fish.
And what is advertised widely? Not “Eat More Carrots!” The familiar ads are Pepsi and Coke, Mickey D’s and Kentucky Fried Chicken. Then there’s Mars and Nestle, makers of candy, and Tyson’s, Cargill or Perdue, for meat and poultry.
The committee making up the dietary guidelines, from the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, apparently didn’t want to offend the big corporations that make their fortunes off our food choices.