From Frugivore — In most discussion of the United States’ so-called obesity/health crisis, Americans emerge as weak-willed gluttons. Mainstream coverage, focused as it is on finger-wagging fatties and decrying diets laden with meat, sugar and processed goodies, misses a significant contributor to the unhealthful way most Americans eat–a food industrial complex dedicated to profit over health; one willing to obscure sound nutritional information that interferes with the monetary bottom line; and, worse, a government willing to abet the behavior.
Exhibit A – The recent foofarah about the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and Meatless Mondays. It you missed it, here’s what went down: Last month, in a leaked internal newsletter, the USDA encouraged employees to participate in Meatless Mondays, a global effort to get people to reduce meat consumption.
Not so radical, right? Indeed, the increase in America’s meat consumption over recent decades is more shocking. According to a 2010 National Institutes ofHealth study that, incidentally, drew from some USDA data, meat consumption in the United States has nearly doubled in the last century. And Americans eat nearly twice the meat that the European Union and other developed countries consume; 58 percent of that is red meat.
Our heavy meat consumption (more than 270 pounds, per person, per year) may play a role in the increase of lifestyle diseases, like diabetes, heart disease and some cancers. The American Diabetes Association says “a low-fat, vegan diet improves glycemic control and cardiovascular risk factors.” The American Heart Association associates a well-planned vegetarian diet with “lower risk of obesity, coronary heart disease (which causes heart attack), high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and some forms of cancer.” The American Cancer Society’s nutritional guidelines call for “limiting processed meats and red meats.”
And there’s more. Earlier this summer, the United Nations urged that citizens of the world move toward vegan diets (no animal products) to help save the world from “hunger, fuel poverty and the worst effects of climate change”.