If you were a grade school kid, what would you feel if your lunch looked like this?

 

 

You would either feel disgusted and eat “that” by pinching your nose or throw it away in the garbage, right? Well, this is exactly what’s happening in hundreds of thousands of schools across the country that try to follow USDA food guidelines, of which First Lady Michelle Obama has been a staunch supporter. They end up wasting huge sums of money because children don’t eat their government-approved meals.

Setting aside the fact that nothing in the Constitution give federal government the authority to set food guidelines, the said guidelines are based on bogus science perpetrated by… the government.

Indeed, back in the 1970s, the federal government wanted to impose the guidelines we all know: a diet low in fat and cholesterol. Since this diet was not supported by science, government simply… went ahead with it. When the USDA wanted to implement those guidelines, it cherry-picked a scientist that approved of them – the one in place at the National Academy of Science disapproved of them. And since those guidelines have been implemented…

The Unintended Consequence of the War on Fat

As the years roll by, the “War of Fat”, especially saturated fat (found in animal products and coconut), got more intense. Interest groups like the Center for Science and the Public Interest were constantly vilifying restaurants using those supposed artery-clogging fats and told them to switch to… trans fats.

Along with this switch, people also started using unsaturated fats. Had they been limited to olive oil (monounsaturated), there would have been nothing to worry about. However, people massively started using vegetable oils that are full of omega-6 fatty acids (polyunsaturated), which are well-known to cause inflammation.

In addition to a switch to unhealthy fats, food companies, in order to abide by government guidelines and popular pressure, simply started pumping their products with sugar, salt and unpronounceable ingredients. It was a rational thing to do; fat is getting traction as one of the basic tastes the tongue can detect. If it gets taken away, then “something else” has to be put so that the taste won’t be affected.

Case in point: Do a taste comparison between skim and whole milk (or something fatter). The first one will be similar to water, but the fatter the drink becomes, the more taste it has.

And that taste is just what children are craving for. Back in kindergarten, I remember that those celery sticks tasted mighty good when my mother put cheese on them. Similarly, broccoli and Brussel sprouts will become a family-favorite if you serve them with reasonable amounts of full-fat cheese or butter.

In short, always be skeptical of government recommendations, whatever they may be. In most instances, they stem from science decided either through lobby or through willful deception. In food, USDA recommendations mainly come from its acceptance by the food industry. It makes sense; grain (corn, soy, wheat) is the basis of the pyramid since it’s so heavily subsidized.