The SAD Diet

By Jessica Campbell, MS, FNTP

The Standard American Dietary Guidelines have often been referred to as the SAD diet in the holistic health community. We are speaking of the sad results in health when people eat the processed foods recommended to us by a nation that profits from our poor food purchases.

When we read what has been proposed in the Standard American Diertary Guidelines red flags should pop up in our minds.

Here are 10 questions with red flags that come to my mind:

  1. Instead of drinking milk the way it arrives in nature, we should remove the fat even thought the vitamins A,D, E and K are only found in the fat?
  2. Don't we need Vitamin D to absorb the Calcium in milk?
  3. Why is the rate of osteoporosis climbing if we are supposedly getting the same calcium from skim milk as we were in whole fat milk?
  4. Why are Americans deficient in Vitamin D even with the enriched foods?
  5. Are the enriched vitamins the right ones for our body to utilize?
  6. Should the bottom of the food pyramid really recommend 5-12 servings of simple carbs?
  7. Should I replace real butter with a synthetic form of cottonseed or rapeseed? Is cotton supposed to be a food?
  8. Is breakfast cereal, which is full of sugar, GMO corn, GMO wheat, and GMO soy really healthier than eggs?
  9. What processing had to happen to reduce the natural sodium in the food?
  10. Hydrogenated oils in margarine form trans fatty acids, aren't those illegal?

I can think of 10 more red flags when reading the dietary guidelines but then I look at whose sponsoring them and realize it is the Department of Agriculture. Aha, of course they want me to buy corn, soy, wheat and manmade oils from cottonseed or rapeseed, there is a profit to be made. Silly me, I thought this whole time that the Standard American Dietary Guidelines were for my health.

In fact, I did think the SAD guidelines were for my health when I first began to study them in high school and then converted my entire diet and lifestyle to match this wisdom. I proceeded to ruin the food foundation my mother had luckily established for me as a child. I changed my milk to skim or even soy. Soy milk was very easy to convert to, it is filled with sugar and damn near irresistible. I eliminated meat all together and removed saturated fats like real butter and salt from my cooking.

My health became a distant light through a tunnel I could get not get through. I had to workout twice as hard to stay "up" with an endorphin rush and not be overpowered by depression. I had to dance harder so the PMS could possibly be hidden by endorphins. I needed to study longer to commit simple things to memory when I was so easily distracted. This is the mantra fed into our nations's ears as Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign tells every boy and girl that they just need to move more. Well I say, BS!

Don't get me wrong, I love to see the first lady working in the garden and pushing fresh foods, I thought she would revolutionize health in the US! But something happened after the food giants got involved. Instead of changing the school lunches and our general food supply as I was hoping for, the campaign became about moving more. Really? I tried that, and I promise eating healthy is way easier than working out 4-5 hours a day. Here is a quote from the movie Fed Up on how much a child would have to work out.

It will take a 110-pound child 75 minutes of bike riding to burn off the calories in one 20-ounce bottle of soda

They are talking about 1 soda, but let's preface that with the breakfast the SAD guidelines recommend. At my daughter's school that would be 1 box of Frosted Mini Wheats, 1 chocolate milk or orange juice and 1 banana. Am I the only one tallying up how much sugar that meal contains? And forget about a 75 minute bike ride, most schools no longer even have P.E. I have taught dance in schools for 16 years and there is one thing I can promise you, the children do not need anymore sugar.

I am especially afraid to see heavy children, completely out of shape being pushed to run or do heavy cardio. Are we trying to give them a heart attack, they need to start slow? In Fed Up, several pre-diabetic kids removed sugar from their diet, they lost weight and felt more inclined to work out. Wow! Imagine that, the desire to move came naturally to a more healthy body?

I wish I had the energy and political finesse to take on the US Dept of Agriculture, but luckily a coalition of educators and physicians are already on the task. I see my part as simply sharing the news, keeping us informed on how we can feed ourselves and our bodies in a healthy way that builds a strong foundation on real food. It is not my mission to force you to eat butter or give up vegetarianism. I simply want you to know that your body craves fattening foods for a reason.

It may be that you are not eating enough fat, as in skim milk or a low-fat diet. It may be that you are following the guidelines to cook with Canola oil which has wrongfully been advertised as a health food for the heart. Canola oil is made from a GMO rapeseed plant and often times cottonseed too. It is a very delicate plant that transforms into a trans fatty acid when heated or processed. It is a waste product that is very well marketed to us as food but using it starves the body of the real fat it needs. Or maybe you bought into the idea of breakfast cereal being better for you than eggs. Did you know that cholesterol can be made form carbs, proteins or fats so physiologically cereal can raise your cholesterol just as fast eggs.

I promise you this, if you can hunt, pick or gather the foods in nature, they are more healthy than anything man has made in a lab. Trust your instincts and eat like your ancestors.