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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 thoughts on “Submit a Comment on the USDA Dietary Guidelines”

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  1. 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.

      1. Only if they are made from real bears.

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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. More Nose-To-Tail…
    4. More Sensible Sunshine
    5. More Fermented Veggies like kimchi, sauerkraut and natt?
    6. More Magnesium
    7. More Salt… a whole lot more salt!

      1. 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).

    1. Focus.

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

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

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

  5. 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?

    1. 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, physical and mental changes.
      I used to eat frozen, processed foods with words like “Lean” and “Healthy” as the brand name and I ignorantly thought they were healthy. I know better now.
      The rest of the people in our majority overweight and obese country, these people need to know the truth. Not everyone can figure it out alone, as I have.

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

      2. 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.

  6. 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 for something better in hopes that food could make a difference and that perhaps I could help others.

    Diet: Atkins (high fat / high protein / low carb)
    Goal: Weight loss
    Time Frame: 2 years
    Personal Experience: Worked very well, removed fat, maintained muscle and I felt great.

    Diet: Vegetarian (no live animal tissues)
    Goal: See what it’s results would be
    Time Frame: 3 months
    Personal Experience: Worked alright for about 1 month, then began to get tired and lose muscle mass. Continued to lose muscle throughout the next 2 months of the experiment. Aborted due to poor health from the diet.

    Diet: Keto (High Fat / Medium Protein / Low Carb)
    Goal: Recover from Vegetarian diet experiment
    Time Frame: 3 months
    Personal Experience: Worked great, increased strength, but not muscle mass

    Diet: Paleo/Primal/Natural Foods (High Fat / Medium Protein / Low Carbs)
    Goal: Increase muscle mass and maintain my excellent health
    Time Frame: 2 years and counting
    Personal Experience: Worked great, increased muscle mass and maintained strength

    I am hoping that the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) can be revamped with your expert guidance to better serve the health of our nations. Low carbohydrate diets and fats have proven themselves in my life and many lab tests to be excellent for health if used properly.

    Low carbohydrate diet studies/papers:

    * Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA, Ball GDC, Busse JW, Thorlund K, Guyatt G, Jansen JP, Mills EJ. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese AdultsA Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2014;312(9):923–933. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10397

    * Bueno, N., De Melo, I., De Oliveira, S., & Da Rocha Ataide, T. (2013). Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: A meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. British Journal of Nutrition, 110(7), 1178-1187. doi:10.1017/S0007114513000548

    * Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base Feinman, Richard D. et al. Nutrition , Volume 31 , Issue 1 , 1 – 13

    * Obes Rev. 2012 Nov;13(11):1048-66. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-789X.2012.01021.x. Epub 2012 Aug 21.

    Saturated fat studies/papers:

    * “Dietary Fat and Coronary Heart Disease: Summary of Evidence From Prospective Cohort and Randomised Controlled Trials” (review of observational data and clinical trials) Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism (2009) Skeaff CM, PhD, Professor, Dept. of Human Nutrition, the University of Otago, Miller J.

    * “Effects on Coronary Heart Disease of Increasing Polyunsaturated Fat in Place of Saturated Fat: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials” PLOS Medicine (2010) Mozaffarian D, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, Micha R, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health, and Wallace S, Department of Epidemiology, Harvard School of Public Health.

    * “Reduced or Modified Dietary Fat For Preventing Cardiovascular Disease” (Systematic Review and Meta-analysis) (Analysis of clinical trials) Cochrane Database Syst Review (2012 Hooper L, Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Summerbell CD, Thompson R, et al.

    * “Association of Dietary, Circulating, and Supplement Fatty Acids with Coronary Risk: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis” (on observational data on all fatty acids and RCTs on supplementation with polyunsaturated fats, o3s or o6s) Annals of Internal Medicine (2014) Rajiv Chowdhury, MD, PhD, University of Cambridge, Samantha Warnakula, University of Cambridge, et al.

    * “Reduction in saturated fat intake for cardiovascular disease,” (systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized, controlled clinical trials) Cochrane Database Systematic Review, 2015 Hooper, L. et al.

    * “Evidence from prospective cohort studies does not support current dietary fat guidelines: a systematic review and meta-analysis” British Journal of Sports Medicine (2016) Harcombe, Z., Baker, JS, Davies B.
    ‘The effect of replacing saturated fat with mostly n-6 polyunsaturated fat on coronary heart disease: a meta-analysis of randomized, controlled trials.” Nutrition Journal (2017) Steve Hamley

    In closing, an unknowing America is looking to you for guidance on their health. Please do them justice and make America healthy. You have the power. I pray great success in your use of it.

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

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

    2. 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

      1. 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! 🙂

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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 Ancel Keyes study misrepresented the data to suit the sugar industry. You know this to be true. Current science supports the fact that saturated fats are part of a healthy diet, and the real culprits to our health epidemic are manufactured foods and over-reliance on carbohydrates. Please don’t doom another generation to the problems the current ones face with regards to their health. Don’t cater to the food lobbyists. Follow the science.

  11. 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.

  12. 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 changes; pysch social, financial and access to healthy foods. I work closely with health care providers I understand the level of confusion they have related to what they should be recommending only further confusing the communities they support. We need the USDA to stand up and help disseminate how a primal diet can change population health. We are on a path of unsustainable health care costs primary related to what we put into our bodies. The public needs to understand the role carbohydrates play in their health! If the government agencies leading this country aren’t willing to take this stand, what will happen to us?

  13. 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 to the current gvt webpage there will be progress like changes to the labeling to pinpoint more easily sugar content as well as “daily recommended amount of sugars percentage” (wth?)… No mention whatsoever about GMO labeling. And then you see that they will keep pushing for low fat dairy and such crap… no dice. Curious to see the end result but as far as I understand even if they wanted to make the change we want to see they couldn’t as the industry would probably collapse. Better to make the best on your own and keep spreading the word than hoping for a major political reform. By all means don’t get me wrong and GO comment, each step forward help countering those who walk backward.

  14. 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 and productive…

  15. 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 evidence and do the right thing!

  16. 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.

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

  18. 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 to me that the USDA is gathering public comment on a question of what should be science. I guess that’s an accurate representation of the state of nutrition science, that is, deeply confused and uncertain.

  19. 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.

  20. 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 function. As a society, we continue to set our children up to continue the vicious cycle of obesity, diabetes and heart disease that plagues America today. As an adult that was formerly on the merry-go-round of poor eating and poor health, the light bulb switched ON after I adopted a low carbohydrate, higher fat, moderate protein way of eating. I now eat vegetables, fruits, protein (and not always the leanest cuts) and high quality fats such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil and grass-fed butter. I have ditched grains, sugar and unhealthy oils. My thinking is much clearer, I have more energy and joint pain has slipped away. My blood sugar is in normal range, my triglycerides and my HgbA1C have plummeted. I will never go back, and I cringe when I read the current guidelines. The research is clear. The time for change is NOW!

  21. 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!

  22. 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

  23. 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 and the FNS lags, it will cause another crisis of public trust in government.

  24. 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 of many chronic disease states, such data might give us pause to reconsider the aptly-named S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) and the conventional dietary recommendations of the government, which are highly suspect, in my humble opinion. I believe that we, as consumers who are genuinely concerned about their health, we have the right to question conventional wisdom, especially when it is influenced by our government and special interest groups.

    Nomenclature such as “healthy U.S.-style diet”, “Mediterranean Diet” and so-called “healthy vegetarian diet” are all mostly meaningless terms that have little basis in human physiological needs or evolutionary biology. I have a friend who justifies polishing off an entire bottle of red wine by himself every night because he says that he is on the Mediterranean Diet! Infamously, the DGA does not caution Americans regarding the true central issues of the obesity epidemic, or as I like to call it, the “diabesity epidemic”, i.e. the ubiquitous obesogenic pandemic of liquid sugar and soda consumption, processed foods replete with chemical additives, High Fructose Corn Syrup found in nearly every product at the supermarket, refined GMO wheat, pro-inflammatory vegetable oils, etc. The DGA is an abysmal failure, as our unabated proliferation of obesity and metabolic derangements in the population have clearly demonstrated in recent decades since consumers traded dietary fat for sugar.

  25. 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.

  26. 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 manufactures have made it a cluster F**k because profits come before health. I am not against grains if processed properly, meaning you eat sprouted grains, long fermented sourdough breads and fermented and sprouted beans but I do know that from working with my clients a higher fat, lower carb, moderate protein diet has the best outcome when it comes to weight, cholesterol, lowering blood glucose levels and having a positive effective on insulin as well as helping with GERD. But QUALITY of the food is the most important when choosing what to put in your mouth. I personally have followed a high fat low carb moderate protein diet for over two years and I lost 30 pounds and have kept it off my cholesteral dropped, my LDL went down, my Trigylcerides went down, and my HDL went up, my insulin went down and Blood glucose dropped and my AC1 dropped as well. When I do indulge its usually in homemade long fermented organic sprouted sourdough bread or homemade sugar free cookies. I know that I am only about 1% of what the population does but it does work. I am no longer on any prescription medications and I am 54 years old. I also consume pink sea salt a lot of it and my blood pressure is on average 110/65 so I find it really interesting how our medical community says salt induces high blood pressure when it is actually processed high sugar foods that increase blood pressure because they increase weight and cause obesity. So the top of the Food Pyramid should say: Quality of the Foods you consume is the most important, Not the amount of food. If you eat high quality food your body will receive more nutrients to the cells and you will actually be less hungry. The cells of our bodies need nutrients to ward off disease and eating foods void of nutrients is what is causing the epidemic in America.

    1. “…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 always grass-fed and the veggies aren’t always organic. Good health doesn’t necessarily mean emptying your wallet at high-end stores.

      I too see dietary change as a two-pronged approach: 1) a healthier way of eating plus 2) smaller portions. As you point out, people eat way too much because the SAD way of eating lacks both nutrient density and satiety.

      1. 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 and we no longer buy 4 dollar coffees out, its about wanting to do the best for ones body. So many people have the excuse that its expensive to be healthy, but when you follow a low carb, high fat, moderate protein diet you don’t eat as much therefore you actually save on groceries when not purchasing all the junk and eating meals out. People need to stop eating out and start to truly look at what they put in their mouth. If there is a will there is a way. I have clients that have come to me that literally had no clue that they were spending 600 plus per month on eating out and that is 600 a month they can use to purchase the right food. The bottom line is this, we need to stop being an America of indulgence and start looking at quality of life not the quantity. If people can’t truly afford good quality meats and seafoods then they really shouldn’t eat them as they are full of toxic chemicals, hormones and antibotics. Conventional meats and farmed seafoods are a huge part of the problem with our food chain. People need to know whats healthy then they can make the choice. Its just a guideline by the government and pyramid of food that most people don’t look at anyway. So they should just put the highest quality in their verbage and in their pyramid to show what is truly the healthiest otherwise what good is the guidelines? Why does price matter when it comes to guidelines??? These are guidelines and the American people have the right to know what is the healthiest for them then let the people choose what they do? If they choose to follow the guidelines then we are way ahead as a country if they don’t there is no one to blame but themselves.

        1. 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.

  27. 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!!

  28. 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 a bit of a fat belly that disturbed me. No exercise made it go away.

    Getting out on my own, I continued to eat as I had learned, though I did start using butter instead of margarine because it tasted better. My career has been in Information Technology, so since college I sit a lot in front of a computer. I steadily gained weight over the years, until by age 47 (2007) I was 75 pounds heavier than I was at college graduation. I hurt a lot, developed arthritis in my lower back, had a very fat belly, asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and my blood sugar numbers were looking like I was headed for diabetes.

    Medicine had nothing to offer me but drugs to hide the problems. I was told my diet was good, but since food in the body has a chemical reaction, I thought that if I changed my diet, it should change the chemistry, and maybe make the problems go away. My first try was Atkins, which was low carb, high fat, high protein. I did lose some weight, the aches and pains went away, my energy was great, and I was more mentally alert than I had been for many years. I stayed on this diet for about 3 months, then started reintroducing grains. The pain returned so I quit eating products with gluten, but I was otherwise back on my original diet and the weight I lost came back.

    For various reasons, it was 2012 before I took charge of my diet again. This time I tried Paleo, which is low carb, modest protein, high fat, avoids processed foods, and includes lots of fresh vegetables. On that diet, I have seen great improvements in my health. I have lost a lot of belly fat, seldom have an asthma problem, blood pressure is much improved, cholesterol is much improved, and blood sugar numbers are much improved. I enjoy meals, have loads of energy, and have great emotional and mental balance. I also sleep much better.

    I have to admit that staying on the diet has been a challenge. When I cook every meal at home, it is no problem. Eating out is difficult because eating establishments tend to conform to the current USDA guidelines which in general are too high in protein and carbs for me, and much too low in fat. I also end up arguing with doctors who keep trying to push me into a low fat, high carb diet. It is what they were taught. It is actively unhealthy for me. They are puzzled by how healthy I am on a “bad” diet.

    I urge you to review recent clinical studies that show the value of saturated fat and of a low carb, modest protein, high fat diet. I especially would like to draw your attention to Virta, a company that has just completed a one year clinical trial of using this kind of diet to reverse type 2 diabetes. This clinical trial is well documented here: https://www.virtahealth.com/research That page also includes a link to a long list of citations of research that the Virta protocol was based on.

    Diabetes is a huge and growing problem. If changing diet can reverse or even cure it, that would have a huge, positive impact on the health of our nation and a great reduction in the cost of medical care. But we need guidance from the USDA to make this change. Dieticians, doctors, and even eating establishments use USDA guidance to create recipes and meal plans. During a hospital stay a couple of years ago, there were no options for me to stay on the diet that is healthy for me. I am not saying everyone in the country has to eat the same way. But if this low carb, modest protein, high fat diet were an official option, then people who do well on that diet would not have to argue with doctors and dieticians to stay on a diet healthy for them.

    Thank you for allowing me to provide my story and viewpoint.

  29. 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 and are not fit for human consumption.

    Saturated fats are the most stable and healthy. Mono and poly-unsaturated fats are okay but the unnatural and heavily processed polyunsaturated fats with dangerously high levels of omega 6 are very unhealthy. If it were up to me these oils (corn, soybean, canola) would be illegal.

    The truth is that the natural fats that come from animals and that exist in nature are what we are designed to consume to function properly.

    Grains are unnecessary unless one is an olympian athlete.

    I think 50-100 g carbs should be the recommended dietary intake–unless one is a serious athlete.

    Excess carbs (especially in the form of refined sugars) and the unnatural oils are the reason for so many health problems–especially obesity.

    Fats don’t make people fat. Sugar does.

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

  31. 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.

  32. “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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

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

  36. 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.

  37. 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 ZA, is the right one…and its not another…? Most people will rely on their confirmation biases, and pick the one that they most agree with, or in many cases, has the body type they would most like. (Even if such a type is impossible for them)

    Paleo isnt the magical answer for everyone. Keto aint magical for all, Veganism aint magical, etc…no more then one type of workout is suitable for all people. Adding the myriad number of exercise beliefs only compounds the complications. Paleo and Crossfit, Keto and endurance pursuits, Veganism and body sculpting, mix and match and do it all ovwr again…

    The USDA chart aint truly the culprit as to why so many people are obese, or “sick”, its the “what” people eat, and how much. Eat a clean diet following the USDA, stay active and most people will thrive.

    Most of this is all First World worries, that too often border on sycophancy.

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

  39. 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.

  40. 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 oil), nuts and seeds and enjoys an occasional glass of red wine. His cholesterol is normal, his A1C is normal & that of a non-diabetic and his blood pressure is normal and stable. All signs point to healing within his body.

    My husband has metabolic syndrome. He has slowly adopted a paleo/low carb lifestyle and I have been very impressed with with the new habits he has developed. I am most excited to see that he no longer drinks soda or sugar loaded drinks, he prepares his meals to take with him so that he always has low carb options, he shuns processed foods, he eats lots of vegetables, he eats nuts and seeds for snacks and he no longer eats any grains. In the shot amount of time he has adopted these habits he has lost 25 pounds, gained energy and is exercising!

    Here is a list of things I would like to see on the nutritional guidelines:

    -Elimination of the 6-11 servings of grains to consume each day. Instead, American should consume 8-10 servings of vegetables every day.
    – FNS strongly condemning soda & sugar loaded beverage consumption for children and adults. There is NO healthy limit and they are destroying Americans’ health.
    -Recognition that multiple types of fat are healthy (saturated fat from grass fed butter, saturated fat from organic/pastured/grass fed/finished meat, saturated fat from coconut oil), eggs, avocado oil, olive oil, etc. There should also be warnings and condemnation for vegetable oils and seed oils that are proven to cause inflammation and free radical damage to the body (canola oil, soybean oil, corn oil, vegetable oil, etc). They should be eliminated from our diets.

    Thank you for your time in consideration of my comments.

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