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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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March 28, 2018

Submit a Comment on the USDA Dietary Guidelines

By Mark Sisson
71 Comments

Caucasian business hand holding megaphone with drawn empty speech bubbleChange is in the air.

As the rest of the country engages in the same old partisan bickering about how best to rearrange the Titanic’s deck chairs, we have a chance to redirect course and avoid the iceberg. The USDA is considering some major changes to its dietary recommendations, and they’ve put out a call for comments from the public—an unprecedented request. Even better, they’ve requested comments on specific nutritional topics that they’re presumably interested in amending for the upcoming 2020 guidelines, including the safety and efficacy of low-carbohydrate diets and the current maximum recommended intake of saturated fats.

If you’re wondering why you should care whether an overbearing governmental agency thinks you should eat saturated fat or eat fewer carbs, it’s not you I’m thinking about. I’m thinking about the people who don’t know better, who assume what they read in doctor’s office pamphlets is the unvarnished truth.

The USDA dietary guidelines are designed for professionals who administer and recommend diets to their patients. They’re used to develop federal food programs and health policies. State and local governments, schools, businesses, charities, and dozens of other organizations with the power to shape the food and food-related information we consume all use USDA dietary guidelines as, well, guidelines.

You may have a good grasp on the science of food and the diet that works for you—but millions of people do not. Millions rely on the experts and the medical professionals and bureaucrats to make their decisions for them. If those authorities are operating with bad information, what do you think happens?

The obesity epidemic happens. The type 2 diabetes epidemic happens. Low-fat chocolate milk in the lunch line happens. Statins for toddlers happens. Fat acceptance (not the same as self-acceptance) happens. An exploding mobility scooter market happens.

This isn’t a magic fix. This information—the right stuff, the helpful stuff I and other folks in the community have been doling out for years—is readily available, and not everyone wants to listen or buy in. That isn’t going to transform just because the USDA changes their tune. And the tune isn’t going to change dramatically no matter what happens. You won’t see the USDA recommending bone marrow and keto anytime soon. But it will start shifting things in the right direction. And it’ll expose a large number of people who’d never heard anything but the official line about low-carb diets and saturated fat to a radically new position that could really improve their health and make eating both more enjoyable and more effective.

And there’s an even bigger reason to get involved and submit a comment: Vegetarian activists and passionate defenders of the status quo (yes, they exist) are out in full force submitting comments arguing against low-carb diets and the relaxation of limits on saturated fat consumption. They already wield a home court advantage—everyone “knows” vegetarians are healthier and holier—so we need to push back.

***But you only have until THIS Friday, March 30, to submit your comment.

Most of the other luminaries in the ancestral health community are also asking their readers and followers to participate. This has the chance to be a big wave of influence, provided everyone willing and able follows through and makes a comment.

Nina Teicholz and Dr. Sarah Hallberg, who are spearheading this effort, have provided some excellent suggestions for the content of your comments, including relevant scientific references. Copy and paste what they wrote if you prefer, or write your own.

Just get it done. Let’s make a change.

Thanks for reading and commenting, folks. You know what would be cool? Sketch out what you’ll write to the USDA in the comment section down below, then submit it as a document for consideration. That way everyone gets inspired to submit.

Take care.

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71 Comments on "Submit a Comment on the USDA Dietary Guidelines"

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Curtis
1 month 29 days ago

I’ll comment, but I’m not hopeful as these comments will likely go the way of the 98% comments opposing the reduction of Bears Ears.

Neanderchow
1 month 29 days ago

Are bears ears keto?

Walter
Walter
1 month 29 days ago

Only if they are made from real bears.

Those captchas are *tough*, some small pieces and things in the background

Shel
Shel
1 month 29 days ago

Yes, Curtis. I was one of the 98%.
?

Curtis
1 month 28 days ago

Yep, so was I.

Chris
Chris
1 month 29 days ago

I commented a few weeks ago when someone posted about it in the MDA Facebook page. Hopefully the USDA actually takes these suggestions into consideration and it’s not all talk.

Jen
Jen
1 month 29 days ago

Statins for toddlers?! OMG! I don’t know what to say.

Jen
Jen
1 month 29 days ago

Are they THAT flipping clueless?

Liver King
1 month 29 days ago
More salt… to the tune of north of 10 grams per day of pink Himalayan salt (or) an ancient ocean salt like Redmond Real Salt. Before the recent invention of the refrigerator, salt was a primary preservative… then, there was also the salty interstitial fluid, blood and bile that we Sapiens consumed on the regular. Actually, there’s data out there about our early ancestors consuming north of 100 grams of salt per day… how much salt do consume? This is what I will comment to the USDA Dietary Guidelines: 1. More Liver 2. More Bone Marrow and Bone Soups 3.… Read more »
Nocona
Nocona
1 month 29 days ago

You stole my list. I’d add, we should get rid of CAFO’s.

Shel
Shel
1 month 29 days ago

Yes, Nocona! Kale vs. Cow- It’s not the cow, it’s the HOW. Vegan propaganda tries to demonize a lifestyle that’s healthier for people AND the planet. CAFOs are definitely part of the problem (not to mention the single biggest user of antibiotics).

OnTheBayou
OnTheBayou
1 month 29 days ago

Focus.

You have to win battles before you can expect to win the war.

Nocona
Nocona
1 month 29 days ago

Thank you Lao Tzu for the reminder, I sometimes get ahead of myself.

NaturalGirl
NaturalGirl
1 month 29 days ago

Definitely summit a comment. Thank you.

Tab
Tab
1 month 29 days ago

Done and Done!!! By the way Mark Sisson to chair the USDA!!!

Monyne Cotton
Monyne Cotton
1 month 29 days ago

More education on sugar consumption and how it affects our body’s organs and functions.

Jim
1 month 29 days ago

The biggest telling factor to support Low carb diets, is the amount of reversals in type 2 diabetes. Not to mention the fact that our bodies can make fat out of carbs, but not carbs our of fat. Do we really need carbs at all?

Stephanie Morris
Stephanie Morris
1 month 29 days ago
I agree with going low carb completely. At one time, I never had a weight problem. Although, I was never educated on eating properly. I went from thin to obese, in less than 15 years. Over the summer of 2018, I began a well balanced, low carb diet. I actually prefer saying I made a lifestyle change, rather than diet. I’m done losing weight, and after losing 80 pounds, I am an average weight again. I’m 42, and I didn’t feel this energetic and I wasn’t thinking as clearly, in my 20’s. I attribute my new lifestyle to those changes,… Read more »
Stephanie Morris
Stephanie Morris
1 month 29 days ago

Oops, sorry! It was the Summer of 2017 when I began losing weight.

Nocona
Nocona
1 month 29 days ago

I was going to say, wow, you are really ahead of your time.

Katie
1 month 28 days ago

Thank you for sharing your story. This is so inspiring; I appreciate your willingness to share. Your experience and transformation embodies the hope I have for our country. It IS possible to regain health! I feel that so many people are overwhelmed by the misleading information and the lack of progress they experience while on diets that follow the USDA guidelines. Stories like yours can provide the inspiration for change.

Gregg Frank
Gregg Frank
1 month 29 days ago
Here’s my post as submitted: A quick about me: 49 year old male in the Information Technologies profession. I have enjoyed excellent health, an improvement in my standard medical checkup markers, and increased vitality by modifying my diet and finding out what works for me, and in my personal visits to online forums and talking with others, them as well. My own personal experiment over the last decade has been as follows: Diet: Standard American Diet Goal: None Time Frame: 39 years Personal Experience: Aches, pains, weight gain, and muscle wasting that I attributed to old age and began looking… Read more »
Danielle
Danielle
1 month 29 days ago

Well written. I am going to borrow some of your language to comment.

Gregg Frank
Gregg Frank
1 month 29 days ago

Thank you Danielle, I appreciate that. Feel free to copy away and thank you for making a difference! 🙂

HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
1 month 29 days ago

Wow Gregg, as a fellow IT guy I salute you, this is awesome. I tried to send you a connect request on LinkedIn, but there are quite a few Gregg Frank’s LOL. – George Basham

Gregg Frank
Gregg Frank
1 month 29 days ago

Hi George, thank you sir and way to go on your life path. From my viewpoint, Primal is an amazing way to make life amazing physically and mentally. I don’t post here often…too busy with life in general. But this is a truly worthy cause that I sincerely hope will help the masses! 🙂 For LinkedIn, I saw quite a few George Basham’s as well sir. To find me, I’m an IT Manager. Thank you again for the great reply. Take care and be well! 🙂

Julie
Julie
1 month 29 days ago

Dang, man.

Gregg Frank
Gregg Frank
1 month 29 days ago

Thanks Julie, nice comments are always appreciated! 🙂 I hope your life path is amazing for you! Thanks again! 🙂

Ratna Babu
Ratna Babu
1 month 29 days ago

I have followed this high fat diet couple of times; did blood tests before and after and found that all the markers had actually become better with this diet.

Now I am convinced that this fear of saturated fat is totally unfounded – unless you combine high amounts of fat (that too bad fat)with high amounts of processed carbohydrates – then you have a dangerous combination.

Colleen Foster
1 month 29 days ago

With the increase of heart disease and diabetes under the current guidelines of high grain low fat, I would think that common sense would dictate a major change but I wouldn’t count on it. Too much money involved with the lobbyists and the FDA to change.

Jay
1 month 29 days ago

The link is broken for the first of the 8 references at Nina Teicholz’s and Dr. Sarah Hallberg’s linkedwww.nutritioncoalition.us site : “Dietary Fat and Coronary Heart Disease: Summary of Evidence From Prospective Cohort and Randomised Controlled
Trials” Get the paper at this location: https://www.karger.com/Article/PDF/229002

Holly
1 month 29 days ago
My comment: I spent three years vegetarian and two further years vegan. In that time, I went from a healthy, vibrant person to someone who suffered from countless health issues: neuropathy and numbness, weight gain, constant fatigue, fibromylgia, constipation, and daily nausea and GERD. I made the switch to paleo eating (lower carb, no grains or sugars, no vegetable oils or processed foods) and every single one of my symptoms cleared up within a year – most within 6 months. The low fat, high carb diet made me sick and insulin resistant. Furthermore, we have known for years that the… Read more »
Stefi
Stefi
1 month 29 days ago

Thank you for the heads up. I lodged a comment and uploaded a document containing the information provided on Teicholz’s and Hallberg’s site. That’s my pebble in the bucket. I hope many other people add their pebbles too. Together, we may be able to add enough weight to make a difference.

Kerry Lockart
Kerry Lockart
1 month 29 days ago
As a nurse of 17 years and someone who has extensively researched diabetes over the past 3 years, it is time for change! My passion for public health and changing the obesity epidemic has driven me to find answers. Low carb is absolutely part the answer. My husband and I made this change 2 years ago, he lost 100lbs and cut his triglycerides by 2/3. I have worked in acute care hospitals, home care and now as an informatics nurse. I understand the population of patients that need this information shared. I understand all of the struggles of maintaining dietary… Read more »
Mister_Root
Mister_Root
1 month 29 days ago
This is great news that they opened the door to comments! Sorry if I can’t help since I am Canadian but if I would if I could. On another note please don’t hold your breath about it since the big lobbies are obviously sticking around. As an example I was all excited lately to hear from one of my peers that they are rewriting the Canadian Food Guide and that the debate was pretty heated because initially they had apparently not invited Big Agra and Big Moo to the party. I rushed to the ‘net to find info and according… Read more »
Patrick
1 month 29 days ago

How about the USDA list its biggest commercial donors right next to all its recommendations.

James Hudson
1 month 29 days ago

Submitted

Mary
1 month 29 days ago
Just eat real food. Animals are real! Corn syrup is made up and killing us! Vegetarians usually don’t get any B12, enough fat soluble vitamins, iron or calcium. Eggs are one of natures most perfect foods! The fact that chickens pop them out almost every day is proof! Low carb is a great way to eat because it can reduce snacking and overeating. When someone brings muffins into work the whole company suffers the blood sugar crash! What if we all brought deviled eggs instead? I guess the government can’t make money off of us if we are satiated, healthy… Read more »
Justin Lund
1 month 29 days ago
First off I am not a scientist but I definitely have anecdotal evidence. I used to follow the high grain low fat diet and exercised regularly but found myself as a 42 y/o male 30 lbs overweight with high cholesterol. After doing a lot of reading and seeing people i know have great success with low carb diets I decided to try it. Long story short here I am a year later 30 lbs lighter with cholesterol levels all with in normal range. I will NEVER go back to the American Standard Diet again. Please USDA look at ALL the… Read more »
Johnny
Johnny
1 month 29 days ago
I’m not sure any of this will work in our current corporate owned (to say the least) administration. Just look what the AHA has done to the blood pressure chart. Age based BP recommendations were just starting to come to light, then WHAM, along comes the new AHA recommendations that we all should have the blood pressure of a teenager in their prime. Seriously, 120/ < 80 is now elevated, and 130/80 is stage 1 hypertension? It's all about the money now, folks. Corporate profits on the (un)health of the population is what we have these days.
Ali
Ali
1 month 29 days ago

I did comment and I also commented regarding the homeopathy issue, but I am concerned that both will be ignored.

Doug K
Doug K
1 month 29 days ago
The latest study I’ve seen is https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/2673150 which says, There was no significant difference in 12-month weight loss between the HLF and HLC diets, and neither genotype pattern nor baseline insulin secretion was associated with the dietary effects on weight loss. So I can’t in good conscience recommend a LC diet. As @botanygeek observed, civilizations all independently evolved eating grains as a key energy source – low carb diets on a mass scale are an ecological impossibility. The evidence against saturated fats was mostly manufactured by sugar companies, so that is uncontroversial now and I’ll comment accordingly. It seems bizarre… Read more »
David Locker
1 month 29 days ago

Comment:
I have ignored the guidelines for 8 years. I’m 46,male, no meds, fully active, functional, play soccer on the weekends, lift weights. I eat a high fat low carb diet with some sweets sprinkled in on the weekends. I have very low body fat, plenty of energy and perfect blood markers from my lab work. Please consider changing the guidelines to help our country decrease health costs and give people a better life.

Mary
Mary
1 month 29 days ago
Done. Here’s my comment: As a school nurse in a public elementary school, a person diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, high triglycerides, and overweight most of my adult life, I am thrilled to see the USDA is considering changing the recommendation regarding low carbohydrate diets and saturated fat intake. The current guidelines imposed on public school food service that promote low fat, high carbohydrate (cheap empty calorie) foods for our children in order to qualify to receive Federal funding is appalling. Children need nutrient-dense, high-quality food, not cheap carbohydrates that convert to sugar, for proper brain growth and… Read more »
Zoe
Zoe
1 month 29 days ago

Awesome! This would hopefully lead to more studies and research and the opportunity for more informed health troubleshooting with doctors who are open to the keto approach!

Jolinda
1 month 29 days ago

I am an acupuncturist who spends a great deal of my clinic time unraveling harm created by low fat / high carb diets following the food pyramid. Please STOP! If you cannot read current literature that exposes the dangers of this diet, if you cannot see the rise in dangerous lipids and degenerative diseases from your recommendations of the past, if you think obesity is a benign problem of people who don’t exercise enough, then you are unable to make dietary recommendations. Just stop! Jolinda Rockett, 87 Elm St., Suite 201, Camden Maine

Daniel
Daniel
1 month 29 days ago
Submitted my input, thanks for the prompt. The credibility of the FNS and USDA is at stake unless the dietary guidelines are informed by science. This means abandoning the Lipid Hypothesis of heart disease. Credible science, new and old, shows that sugar and PUFA are responsible for modern chronic disease and that SFA, MUFA, and animal foods are perfectly healthy. A ketogenic diet high in animal protein and free of sugar and vegetable oil has been the best thing I have tried for my health. If the Paleo movement has to become the source of up to date nutrition advice… Read more »
Nicholas Laszlo, MS
1 month 29 days ago
The DGA, FDA, the USDA, and their dietary recommendations, have little to do with health and the biochemistry of foods while having everything to do with politics and economics. There are many who believe, myself included, that the FDA and USDA exist mostly to protect the financial interests of Big Agra and Big Pharma, making it no “accident” that grains comprise the base of the conventional “food pyramid”, reflecting $24,315,091,295 in corn subsidies from 1995-2014 and $11,460,045,647 in wheat subsidies in that same period. Considering the pro-inflammatory high-glycemic nature of corn and wheat, the ubiquitous obesity epidemic and dietary etiology… Read more »
Joanne
Joanne
1 month 29 days ago

One of the wider points you didn’t mention is that, if the USDA changes their guidelines, the guidelines in other countries will follow suit. Yes, our policy-makers are lazy and sheep-like, so let’s gently guide them in the right direction when we’re given a rare opportunity.

Kelly
Kelly
1 month 29 days ago
So this was my comment to the USDA: Hello and thank you for your time in reading my comment: This whole Dietary Guidelines for Americans should be really simple. Eat whole foods, avoid packaged, processed, sugar laden foods. Good Saturated fat is good for you as long as you are eating 100% organic grass fed pastured meats, wild caught seafood, organic vegetables and low fructose fruits. Avoid all processed sugar if possible and follow a 90/10 rule. Eat as healthy as possible 90% of the time and 10% of the time you can indulge. Nutrition is simple but our food… Read more »
Shary
Shary
1 month 29 days ago
“…as long as you are eating 100% organic grass fed pastured meats, wild caught seafood, organic vegetables and low fructose fruits…” Good advice but there are too many people who can’t afford those things on a regular basis. I submitted a comment but kept it basically Paleo, mostly stressing the need to drastically reduce or eliminate sweets and grain products without focusing on the pricier meat and vegetable options. I firmly believe that it’s very possible to improve health and lose weight with ordinary supermarket ingredients if you know what to buy and what to avoid–even if the meat isn’t… Read more »
Kelly
Kelly
1 month 28 days ago
I disagree that people can’t afford these items. I personally saved until I could buy in bulk from my farmer and I pay on average $10-$12 per pound for all my beyond organic, pastured raised meats and wild caught seafood and no we don’t just eat ground beef we have porterhouse steaks, demonico rib eyes, chicken, all cuts of pork and sockeye salmon. It took me time to save but I did it. I purchase in bulk about every 4-6 months and during the months I am not buying I save for the next purchase. We cut out eating out… Read more »
Shary
Shary
1 month 27 days ago

Kelly, the point I was indirectly making is that the USDA will never offer a food guideline as stringent as what you propose. Sure, it might be arguably more healthful but it would be considered too extreme for the average American to take seriously. Simply reducing sugars and grains is extreme enough for most people (including those who run the USDA). The whole point is to get a government approved guideline that is better than what currently exists. “Perfect” isn’t going to happen, but “better” would be a huge improvement.

Jill March
Jill March
1 month 29 days ago

I am a 41 year old woman with TWO autoimmune diseases. Until I started doing my own research on healing my own body, I had never been told to eat a low carb, high fat diet would have possibly warded off the second diagnosis.(In coordination with an AIP) Please consider making the change to help others like me, who, with better and more up to date information could live healthier, longer lives!!

Geri WInters
1 month 29 days ago
Here is what I posted: When I was 8 years old, my 32 year old father had his first heart attack. His doctor said we needed to eat a heart healthy diet, that included little or no saturated fat and was overall low fat. I learned growing up that a meal included some protein, a vegetable, and a starch. We rarely had sweets of any kind, but fruit was OK. I ate a lot of white fish and boneless, skinless chicken as a child. Meals were not very interesting. I was an active teenager so stayed slim, though I had… Read more »
Benjamin Mercer
1 month 29 days ago
Good! Its about time! Hopefully they’ll have some sense and make the necessary revisions! This is what I wrote: The current recommendations of having grains at the bottom of the food pyramid has led to obesity and many other problems. I would like to see vegetables at the very bottom of the food pyramid, followed by meat, fowl, fish and eggs. The next level up should be healthy fats (coconut, avocado, olive and animal fats) followed by fruits, high-fat dairy and nutritious carbs. Omega 6 heavy polyunsaturated fats found in grain/seed oils (canola, cottonseed, corn, soybean, rapeseed) are highly oxidized… Read more »
His Dudeness
His Dudeness
1 month 29 days ago

Done. I may be pissing in the wind, but I’ve said my piece.

Summer
1 month 29 days ago

Thank you for publishing this article. I had no idea the USDA was calling for input.

steve altfillisch
steve altfillisch
1 month 29 days ago

done!

Ken
Ken
1 month 29 days ago

Eliminate the USDA and stop trusting the federal government for dietary guidelines. Generally speaking, stop looking to the government to provide guidance for anything, particularly since there is no constitutional basis for the USDA and politically directed guidance on how to live your life.

Margaret
Margaret
1 month 29 days ago

The “submit your comment” link goes to the wrong site.

Ross
Ross
1 month 29 days ago

“If you’re wondering why you should care whether an overbearing governmental agency thinks you should eat saturated fat or eat fewer carbs, it’s not you I’m thinking about.”

Well, I’m glad you said that, Mark. As far as I’m concerned a government agency should have NOTHING to say about it at all. That’s where the problem began.

To channel Washington via Heinlein: government is a dangerous servant and a terrible master.

Jeanne
1 month 29 days ago

Mark – The link to Nina Teicholz and Dr. Sarah Hallberg is the same as the one to “post your comment”, so i can’t see what they suggest.

David Todd
1 month 29 days ago

I commented Your Comment Tracking Number: 1k2-92a4-3f1g Your comment may be viewable on Regulations.gov once the agency has reviewed it. This process is dependent on agency public submission policies/procedures and processing times. Use your tracking number to find out the status of your comment.

Naomi W.
Naomi W.
1 month 28 days ago

If calcium is on the list of nutritional info, magnesium should be there, too. More chance of someone being magnesium deficient than calcium deficient.

Cliff
Cliff
1 month 28 days ago

I got my comments submitted on Tuesday. My suggestion is to use what others have submitted like the Nutrition Coalition as a guideline and not just cut and paste. These agencies tend to ignore what they see as “form letters” like that.

Boregard
Boregard
1 month 28 days ago
Interesting. But whats odd to me is this article comes on the same page as the one pitching Health Counselor/Coach as a job. Stating all the great reasons why we all need one. (I dont) Problem is there are as many different opinions as to the proper way to optimal health, as their are people. Varied opinions among those willing to be coaches, and those willing to hire one. Just like there are differences of opinion among the Paleo pack, the Keto cult, Vegans, vegetarians, Atkins, etc, etc… So how do you know IF Coach X, who supports health style… Read more »
Kelly
1 month 28 days ago

DONE! No sugar, High natural fat, including animal fat (sat fat), No industrial veg oils, low carb and avoid grains.

anna
1 month 27 days ago

I submitted a comment. I chose to focus on eliminating bad oils, including only primaly aligned oils. Recommending little to no aditional sugars in any form and de- emphasizing grains. These three big items alone may help those who actually put stock in the USDA dietary guidlines…One can hope.

Danielle
Danielle
1 month 27 days ago
Here’s my comment that I submitted today: Dear USDA, Thank your for allowing comments on the dietary guidelines. I would like to share with you the success of two members of my family who have had great success with low carbohydrate diets & eating saturated fats. Last year my father suffered multiple heart attacks, a type 2 diabetes diagnosis and a diabetic foot ulcer that turned into a life threatening infection. Since then my father has completely adopted a low carb paleo style diet. He eats abundant vegetables, pastured/grass fed meat, healthy fats (butter, ghee, avocado oil, olive oil, coconut… Read more »
Jac
Jac
1 month 22 days ago

Comments have been posted – An impressive number refer to “low carb” and “healthy fats”, the effects of insulin…Check it out

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