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Submission + - Is it time for government to get out of the business of giving dietary advice? (wsj.com)

schwit1 writes: But that would mean giving up on so many opportunities for graft and self-importance and control over others.

With the release of the eighth edition of the U.S. government’s Dietary Guidelines expected by year’s end, it seems reasonable to consider—with the “obesity plague” upon us and Americans arguably less healthy than ever before—whether the guidelines are to be trusted and even whether they have done more harm than good.

Many Americans have lost trust in the science behind the guidelines since they seem to change dramatically every five years. In February, for example, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee declared that certain fats and eggs are no longer the enemy and that cholesterol is “not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.” This, after decades of advising Americans to “watch their cholesterol.”

Such controversy is nothing new. U.S. Dietary Guidelines were first released by the Agriculture Department and the Department of Health and Human Services in 1980. One nutrition expert at the time, Edward “Pete” Ahrens, a groundbreaking researcher on fat and cholesterol metabolism, called the guidelines “a nutritional experiment with the American public as subjects . . . treating them like a homogeneous group of Sprague-Dawley rats.”

The original goals were to: 1) increase Americans’ carbohydrate consumption to 55%-60% of caloric intake; 2) reduce fat consumption to less than 30% from 40% of caloric intake; 3) reduce saturated fat to 10% of calories and increase poly- and monounsaturated fats each to 10% of calories; 4) reduce cholesterol intake to less than 300 milligrams a day; 5) reduce sugar intake by 40%; and 6) reduce salt consumption by 50%-80%.

These six goals, viewed in the context of what we know today, could hardly be more misdirected.

If only we could hold them liable the way we would if they were pharmaceutical companies that produced similarly defective and harmful products.

Comment Re:I love the future! (Score 1) 33

If we, as a species, wish to survive the eventual death of our planet, we will to develop the ability to eventually leave it. And given the speed in which we make progress in outer space (if we don't happen to be in a childish dick-comparison contest with Ivan next door), time isn't really on our side in this.

On the other hand, I think we have perfected human's ability to drive around pointlessly in a circle. If anything, taking the human out of the game would make it far more interesting. You can make it faster and far, far more dangerous to the cars. Because, hey, if they crash and go up in a fireball, who gives a shit? Provided that you can ensure the safety of the spectators, there is exactly zero chance that anyone could get hurt if they blow up spectacularly. Finally it would be interesting to watch cars drive around aimlessly.

"Consider a spherical bear, in simple harmonic motion..." -- Professor in the UCB physics department