Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Do You Know.........

Do you know where the dietary guidelines, recommendations, healthy vs non-healthy foods information comes from. Is it from extensive research into what is best for us? Actually NO. The guidelines, recommendations, etc. may come from the FDA but they are strongly influenced by lobbyists for particular companies or organizations.

While at Mississippi State University (MSU) a couple of weeks ago for a football game, we hiked up to the bookstore on Campus. The kids were roaming around and came back with the news...we found a book you are really going to like. The name of the book is "Food Politics - How the food industry influences Nutrition & Health" by Marion Nestle. Right away I was intrigued by the title and bought the book. So far I have read to page 185 of 405 and am getting surprises with every turn of the page.

From reading the "Coconut Oil Miracle" book, I knew that the Vegetable oil manufacturers are the ones that heavily lobbied and advertised about the unsafeness of tropical oils. That is why manufacturers, restaraunts, etc. switched the oils they use to cook our food in. They believed the "marketing strategies" of a group that had an intense campaign to get everyone to switch to their products.

The same thing happened with the big Butter scare. The margarine folks wanted to sell more of their products and they came out with all kinds of "facts" about their products being better for you.

Now, in reading Food Politics I am finding out how much influence the "outside" has in promoting their own agenda even to the extent of the guidelines for the "Food Pyramid". This is used as a teaching tool in all the schools, shown on boxes of cereal, etc, talked about by every agency that has anything to do with food. The lobbyists all jumped on the band wagon to make sure their products weren't too far down on the list, that people didn't perceive them as dangerous, etc. The food pyramid guide wasn't written as a guide to help us made right choices, it was written to keep all the different food industries happy and content. Lobbyists that had a voice in this included some of the following...National Cattlemans Assoc., American Herbal Products, National Pork Producers, Pepsico, Con-Agra, Kraft, Am. Frozen Food Institute, Monsanto, Archer Daniel's Midland, Am Peanut Shellers Assoc. (who knew this even existed?), Nat. Confectioners Assoc., Snack Foods Assoc., Un. Egg Asso., and the list goes on and on. The FDA had to find a way to make everyone happy and not angry, to produce a list of what we should and shouldn't eat everyday. Companies spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to get us to buy one brand over another.

Page 95 states"Historically, lobbying always has involved three elements: (1) promoting the views of special-interest groups, (2) attempting to influence government laws, rules or policies that might affect those groups, (3) communicating with government officials or their representatives about laws, rules or policies of interest. Food lobbyists, therefore, are people who ask government officials to make rules or laws that will benefit their clients companies, whether or not they benefit anyone else." Also Lobbyists are hired not elected. They get paid to do this. They don't have our best interest at heart, they are promoting a product for a company that pays them to do it.

I knew that different organizations base their recommendations on research. But what I didn't know was how much this research is based on the reports of companies trying to push their own products to the forefront. Or to cast doubt on a product they don't want you to buy anymore.

Very interesting...at least to me! For the past year, I am questioning everything. This little tirade is just to make you think and do your own research. But follow the research trail far enough to see who sponsored it. (for example, I believed that Splenda was really made from sugar...NOT, but I believed the advertisting, just google it and read about it...our home is splenda free now)

I am through preaching...but I am not through reading!


  1. Thank you for sharing your information. I did not know that was how our food pyramid came about.
    Keep on reading!

  2. Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy. My little bubble I live in is slowly leaking away. I remember the food pyramid from 5th grade, posters and all. Is there anyone we can trust?

  3. The FDA was working on the food pyramid but then all the lobbyist put in their 2 cents worth. Nobody wanted to scare folks away from their own products or relay any kind of information that it could be dangerous. There is a whole lot going on that I just never thought about. I was too trusting and naive.


Welcome to the farm ~ we are a blended family with 7 children (3 are married), 4 grandsons, 5 dogs, 3 rabbits, and 15 chickens living on 3 acres in Georgia. I love crafting, sewing, cooking & canning, recipes of all kinds, reading, playing with my little buddies, family time, travel, pinterest and most of all the Lord.