Nutritional Anthropology

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The science and art of living the way nature intended

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Deceitfulness of Government Dietary Guidelines

Our evolutionary history designed us for life on the savannas of east Africa...

Have you ever wondered about dietary advice handed down by governments? Well you should! The UK’s Foods Standards Agency from time to time issues its dietary guidelines in the form of its “eatwell plate”.  


This dietary advice is drawn up only after negotiation with all interested parties. They are powerful and include agro-industrialists, farmers, food lobbies, trade associations, labor unions, politicians and financiers.


It is not edifying: each interest group brings the maximum of financial and political pressure to bear. Regrettably, in the mêlée, the scientists’ impartial advice is mostly watered down or abandoned. In other words, the government’s dietary guidelines are not a gold standard; on the contrary, they are a weak and deceitful compromise between all the competing interests.


This is a major cause for concern. In spite of their debased nature, these recommendations are then taught to our children in schools and they are used to design meals in hospitals, schools, prisons and retirement homes.


Worse, these recommendations become the dogma in which professional dieticians and nutritionists are trained. The conventional platitudes for healthy eating have become as sincere as a harlot’s kiss. Integrity has abandoned the field leaving it wide open to all kinds of alternative dietary nostrums. Most of them are questionable, some are plausible but none of them gets to the fundamentals. They cannot, for they do not know the truth about our human heritage.


 The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is preparing its five-year update of its Dietary Guidelines for Americans to be published in late 2010. The review panel is open to comment from interested parties. This is what I submitted:


“I study the origins of the human species and the type of feeding pattern to which we are naturally adapted.


“We now know that we are still living in bodies that our evolutionary history designed at that time: our biochemistry, our digestive arrangements and even our mentalities are designed for life back then in the Pleistocene.


“We now know that grass seeds (grains) – which are of the monocot group - are not human food. They are glycemic, contain harmful antinutrients and are poor in micronutrients.

We know that sugar in all its forms (including “natural” honey and maple syrup) was never a significant part of our ancestral heritage. The rise in consumption of some 4lb per year in 1800 to over 160 lb per year is a disaster for the health of the nation.


“We know that milk (and dairy products in general) are only for the young of the species - they are a biochemical and digestive disaster for adult humans.

We know that our biochemistries rely on a modest supply of omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids in balance. Our bodies do not know how to handle transfats, hydrogenated fats and, with the exception of stearic acid, saturated fats. A dysfunctional fatty acid profile plays havoc with our health.


“We also know that dicot plant food which is low glycemic and rich in micronutrients  should supply some 75% of the volume of what we eat; animal matter, with a low fat content and with the right fatty acid profile, some 25% of volume.


“This is all thoroughly documented in the scientific literature, and summarized in my book Deadly Harvest.


“But get that past the food lobbies!”


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