Dana Carpender Does Politics – Food Politics That Is

I have, over the years, resolutely kept my political views out of my writing about carb-controlled nutrition. Not that I don’t have such views, you understand. I’m just as opinionated in that part of my life as I am about food. I just had this mental image of someone with severe metabolic syndrome reading my work, finding some political view he or she disagreed with, and saying, “I’m not going to listen to anything that nutcase says!” After which, of course, they’d get their feet amputated and go blind from diabetic complications, and it would all be my fault. Or at least partly my fault.

I have, however, made an exception for food politics, most particularly that monstrosity known as the USDA Food Pyramid. It’s time to talk food politics again.

By way of getting around to food politics, I will point out what needs no pointing out: That the biggest national debate here in the USA these days is national health care. I do, indeed, have strong opinions on the topic, but I will not share them with you here. (Should you come on Jimmy Moore’s Low Carb Cruise – which you should – and tackle me after I’ve had a couple of drinks, I’ll be happy to get into a knock-down, drag out debate. Until I go dancing.)

However, I do have a strong opinion I will share, regarding what we all need to do if, indeed, some sort of national health care bill is passed. Or really, even if it isn’t: We all need to contact our elected representatives and tell them that the biggest detriment to American health, and therefore the biggest cause of skyrocketing health care bills from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, mental illness, cancer, even heartburn, is the endless pushing of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate, meat-restricted diet by our government. This pushing has also come from professional associations, of course, many of which get substantial fractions of their funding from the pharmaceutical industry, about the farthest thing imaginable from a disinterested party, but those professional associations are not worried about keeping your vote. Your Congressperson and Senator are.

So I urge you: Whether a national health care bill is passed or not, contact your elected representatives. Call or write your Senators. Ditto your Congressperson. (If you don’t know who they are, you can look them up on those websites.) Contact Kathleen Sebelius, the current Secretary of Health and Human Services, the department President Obama says would be put in charge of administering any public health care option. Contact Tom Vilsack, the current head of the USDA, the government agency responsible for the utterly wrong-headed Food Pyramid, school lunch recommendations, and in general the pushing of grains – especially corn and corn products.

Let these people know of your personal health story. Tell them that a low fat diet, centered on grains, did your health no favors. Demand that they reexamine the government dietary recommendations, school lunch programs, and every other way in which our government has been advocating a diet which has led so many Americans to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and myriad other health conditions — health conditions which are a large part of the reason for our national health care bill.

You might even suggest that they read The Soft Science of Dietary Fat, Gary Taubes’ award-winning article that highlights how little science, and how much politics, went into the past few decades’ push for fat and cholesterol restriction, and consequently the increase in carb consumption. I wouldn’t expect most of them to actually get around to reading it, of course; these are some hellaciously busy people. But if they get the word from dozens, nay, hundreds, of people, some of them may actually skim it. And many of them may wonder if perhaps they’ve been mistaken in taking the government dietary recommendations at face value.

I don’t mean to suggest that all of our nation’s health problems can be solved with a low carbohydrate diet. As the sister of a woman who eats zero junk food, works out regularly, but still suffers from the allergic asthma she was born with, that requires expensive medication on a daily basis, and that has the potential to put her in the hospital, or even kill her, I know that’s too facile. And there’s no diet in the world that will keep people from being in car wrecks, you know?

Too, I don’t in any way expect, or hope, that the federal government will tell people what they must or must not eat. That’s inimical to the basic personal freedom we all take for granted. (Sin taxes on “foods” made with high fructose corn syrup, I might support.)

But our national health has deteriorated badly in the past few decades, the same decades during which we’ve been urged to limit fat and cholesterol, substitute vegetable oils for traditional animal fats, and eat 6-11 servings per day of grains. This is no coincidence. We already all pay the cost of that national ill-health, financially, and in quality of life. It’s time that we, as Americans, speak up.

Let’s all tell our government that their misguided, politically influenced dietary recommendations are costing us trillions of dollars, and ruining American lives.

© 2009 by Dana Carpender. Used by kind permission of politically-incorrect author. What do you think? Please send Dana your comments to Dana Carpender.

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