New USDA guidelines fail to capture the whole truth about proper nutrition

Sunday, February 20, 2011 by: Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
Tags: USDA, dietary guidelines, health news

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(NaturalNews) The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recently released its updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans, a policy manual that includes dietary recommendations for helping people to better maintain proper weight and improve nutrient intake. Though more comprehensive than previous versions, the new manual still lacks some very important essentials that are necessary to attain true health.

Most NaturalNews readers are already aware of the foundational flaws inherent in the USDA "Food Pyramid." Even though it has been updated, the pyramid still reflects the outmoded nutritional views of the industry lobbyists that helped craft it ( And the new USDA dietary guidelines are not much different, as they are based on the abysmally-low U.S. Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) suggestions for vitamins and minerals intake.

The 112-page guide admits that "in certain cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise might be consumed in less than recommended amounts." But it goes much farther than that. Not only is most conventional produce, for instance, deficient in vitamins and minerals, but the additional processing and refining strips foods of what few nutrients they had to begin with. So meeting even the minimal intake requirements for many nutrients is near impossible without additional supplementation.

The USDA also fails to differentiate between nutrient types in its report, suggesting that fortified foods will help people to achieve proper nutrient intake in the same way that supplementation will. Many fortified foods, which are nothing more than highly-refined foods that have had synthetic vitamins and minerals added back to them, will not supply the body with usable nutrients. Synthetic vitamins largely pass through the system unabsorbed because the body does not recognize them in the same way as it does real nutrients.

Organically-grown whole foods, on the other hand, contain a myriad of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and other nutrients that work in synergy with one another. The body knows exactly what to do with these, as they were made to be consumed in their natural and complete form. But the synthetic nutrients used in fortified foods and even in some vitamin supplements are not as well recognized by the body. This is an important distinction that the USDA report fails to identify.

The report also ignores many important nutrients like magnesium, vitamin B6, vitamin E, copper, and zinc, to name just a few, that often require supplementation in order to maintain healthy levels. The food sources listed in the report that allegedly contain these nutrients often do not contain anything close to enough of them, and many people are severely lacking in them. Soil depletion, processing, refining, and many other factors limit the availability of these and other vital nutrients in most conventional foods, and it is absolutely vital to fill the void with superfoods that contain them in order to maintain good health.

And on top of all this, the USDA bases its recommendations on RDA guidelines, which are far too low to maintain any sort of sustained, long-term health. The newly revised RDA of vitamin D, for instance, is still a mere 600 international units (IU) for healthy adults, which is far too low to offer protection from many of the chronic illnesses that million of people now face. And most of the other recommendations for vitamins and minerals represent the bare minimum for just getting by, rather than to attain a vibrant quality of life that is free of chronic illness.

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