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17
MAR

Oops! The Federal Belly-Flop

Filed Under: Sexual Health at 2:53 pm | By: Susan Coyle, Senior Editor
Overweight BikerEven the most well-intended advice can backfire. Suggesting that a friend admit his desires to his secret crush could lead to an extremely awkward conversation should you be the obliviously admired. Telling your roommate that she should fight her boredom with a hobby could, depending on her selection, flood your apartment with a terrifying amount of arts and crafts or, heaven forbid, a heavy metal band. And specifically detailing just how much of a particular food group someone should consume to remain healthy could lead to a substitution that worsens his/her wellbeing. Don’t believe me?  Just ask the federal government.

Since the 1970s, the government has issued dietary guidelines every five years, detailing which foods and how much of each will keep us healthiest.  In 1990, we were told to get no more than 30 percent of our calories from fat. This would help curb our growing health problems, lowering cholesterol, the incidence of heart disease and our weight. But 17 years later, the truth seems to be slightly different. Rather than being healthy and slim we are . . . fat.

Where did the government go wrong? Well, in telling us to trim down on fat they failed to tell us that replacing it with sugar would be just as bad. And so, that’s exactly what we did. Food manufacturers lined the shelves with low-fat, high-sugar, massive-calorie products, and we, like the good listeners we are, gobbled them up, reducing our fat intake while expanding our stomachs.

It was the kind of backfire few had anticipated. However, now that it’s happened, everyone is jumping to fix it.  Numbers are being reconfigured, daily intakes are being adjusted and details are becoming more detailed. But that may be the wrong direction. Some suggest that rather than offering guidelines, the government offer information. The population, overall, is relatively intelligent and could use nutritional facts to determine what would be best for their health. Perhaps though, the best solution would be a combination of the two. Offer guidelines and reasons why. Give America information on what each food group does to a body and then, explain what the government thinks is a reasonable limit. With both, we may finally be able to figure out how to eat less fat without gaining fat.


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