Dietary Goals of the United States

I have previously written about  Dr. McDougall through finding his newsletter in a Google Search where he discussed how to protect yourself from abusive doctors. See Earlier this year I also discussed in a post some of Dr. McDougalls thought’s on Food, Children, and Diet where he wrote to governor Rick Scott of Florida claiming that various food industries are engaged in child abuse.

In his newsletter from October 2012, he discussed former democratic senator George McGovern and his McGovern report from 1977 where guideline for eating were developed, Dr. McDougall says that the McGovern report says

“…there is a great deal of evidence and it continues to accumulate, which strongly implicates and, in some instances, proves that the major causes of death and disability in the United States are related to the diet we eat…What are the risks associated with eating less meat, less fat, less saturated fat, less cholesterol, less sugar, less salt, and more fruits, vegetables, unsaturated fat, and cereal products—especially whole grain cereals? There are none that can be identified and important benefits can be expected.”

Dr. McDougall discusses how various industries were very upset by the McDougall report and in a senate hearing less emphasis was placed on reducing red meat and diary products. He states that even the American Medical Association (AMA) got involved in saying that providing basic information about what to eat interferes with a doctor’s right to prescribe. Dr. McDougall says “…even though doctors then, and now, know nothing about human nutrition.”

Dr. McDougall goes on to say

“Industries fought back successfully with every means at their disposal, including hiring lobbyists, purchasing medical and nutrition experts, launching huge advertising campaigns, driving the nutrition education of our children with their bias, and funding nutrition research that favored their products. …We eat more oil, meat, and dairy now than when the McGovern Report was published in 1977. ..[there is] undeniable evidence that industry won and Americans lost.”

I find it interesting how Dr. McDougall is critical of the USDA Food Pyramid and now My Plate  and even calls the food industry a domestic threat.

Dr. McDougall goes on later to say

“The business of treating dietary diseases with drugs and surgery can be curtailed by forming expert panels to protect the average American, who has no time or expertise to study and analyze the effects of medical prescriptions. These panels must be given respect and the power to stop dangerous tests and treatments.”

As i have previously discussed in this post Tips to Prevent Medical Errors – AHRQ the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research (AHCPR) was created in 1989 to produce evidence-based, clinical-practice guidelines and was supposed to undertake this. However, due to industry opposition and the Republican House majority the AHRQ had it’s budget crippled and mission shifted away from this purpose.

Dr. McDougall is even critical of health insurance providers and implies they operate under a business model. He talks about his experience in trying to get a health insurance company to spend much less money on educating people about what to eat instead of paying for expensive surgery. He states

“[The] insurance company representative gave me a more believable reason for staying with their current lucrative practices. He explained, “John, you don’t get it. We (the insurance company) take a piece of the pie. The bigger the pie, the bigger our share.” Profits come from the sicknesses and the treatments that always follow a bad diet.”

Interestingly enough a similar type of conclusion about the motives of health insurance companies was described by Jay W. Friedman in his 1983 paper  Containing the Cost of Third-Molar Extractions: A Dielmma for Health Insurance. Public Health Reports. vol. 98. issue 4. pages 376- 384. July-August 1983..

“…there is virtually a conspiracy of silence about the kind of abuse described in this paper. Third-and fourth-party payers are not opposed to saving money. However, as long as increased costs can be passed on to consumers in higher premiums and higher wage deductions, they have no strong incentive to provide more than token cost containment.”

Dr. McDougal’s newsletters are interesting and informative. I encourage you to read the entire article from the newsletter on diet as only some excerpts where provided above.

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