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Former Ag Secretary John Block’s Weekly Commentary – “Dietary Guidelines”

“Dietary Guidelines”
Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America.

Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Today, there is growing concern about the food we eat. We have a serious obesity epidemic. What do we do? The new Dietary Guidelines are in the process. President Obama’s appointed Advisory Committee has given their recommendations to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. It will now be their job to write the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

What the final Guidelines recommend is important. All federal food purchasing programs will be affected – school lunch, military menus, etc. Don’t underestimate the impact government recommendations can have.
I’m not a big fan of the Advisory Committee’s report. Here is Senator Bob Dole’s advice to the Secretaries that will have the final decision on what the Guidelines recommend. “As co-author with Senator George McGovern of the original 1977 Dietary Goals for the U.S., I believe the Committee exceeded its mandate when it made dietary recommendations based on environmental concerns of ‘sustainability.’” I say – the Guidelines should be a benchmark for science-based balanced nutrition. And, they have nothing to do with the environment. That’s for someone else to address.

The Committee does not think we should eat as much red meat – even lean meat has been dropped from their list that makes up a healthy diet.

To the Committee’s credit, they do say that we need to cut back on carbohydrates. Dietary cholesterol gets a green light. Eat your eggs. They won’t raise your cholesterol.

There are some changes from past guidelines – something new every day. I’m looking at recent research that says salt is no problem but they think it is. There is new scientific research suggesting that a diet high in carbs is one reason for our high level of obesity. Maybe more protein would slim us down. Yes, I’m talking about meat, eggs, dairy. The science of nutrition continues to evolve.

I was pleased to note that the Committee agreed that my coffee in the morning and glass of wine in the evening was healthful.

Next week, I will be going to Cuba with an ag group. There is hope that our relationship with that country can be normalized – at long last. I’ll report on Cuba next week.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block in Washington, D.C'

A native of the Texas Panhandle, Rhonda was born and raised on a cotton farm where she saw cotton farming evolve from ditch irrigation to center pivot irrigation and harvest trailers to modules. After graduating from Texas Tech University, she got her start in radio with KGNC News Talk 710 in Amarillo, Texas.