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Australian Dietary Guidelines submission

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I am infuriated each time I see the constant commercials broadcasting blatant lies about meat being a "brain food" and claiming that humans are designed to eat meat  We are omnivores who can live on either meat or plant food.

I quote Dr Neal Barnard in his book, Breaking the Food Seduction, “Humans lack carnivorous animals’ sharp claws and large canine teeth that are capable of  tearing flesh;  our canine teeth are no longer than our  incisors.  We have shorter and softer fingernails, and, unlike carnivores, who lack flat back molars and can only move their jaws up and down, humans   and ….herbivores can move their jaws up and down and from side to side, allowing us to grind ….with  our back teeth.


Carnivores  also have short intestinal tracts that allow meat to pass through quickly, before it has a chance to  cause illness.  Humans, on  the other hand, are like ….herbivores, with longer intestinal tracts that are suited to extracting  the nutrients  from plants.  In humans, meaty diets are linked to  the development of colon cancer.  The consumption of animal products also increases the risk of other forms of cancer as well as heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and other diseases, and it increases the risk of having a stroke. .. It is not just fat and cholesterol that cause problems.  Meat diets also deliver much more protein than we need, contributing to osteoporosis and kidney stones.” .  Also, only herbivores sweat like we do.

In short, the healthiest diet is a vegetarian one. I have been vegan for thirty years and still ride horses regularly at 62 years of age. My two children have been vegetarian all their lives. My son is current SA Driver of the Year in Improved Production Motor Sport and also SA Driver of the Year in all categories. He is also a past National Champion in Improved Production Motor Sport. My husband and I, and our children, all have high red blood cell counts, unlike many of our meat-eating acquaintances who lack iron and vitamin B12 among other things.

 Please look to your consciences, end this parody, and publish the truth: that vegetarians are less prone to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and many forms of cancer, especially bowel cancer

The document below by Geoff Russell echoes my feelings precisely.

Who owns the new Australian Dietary Guidelines
By Geoff Russell
For those who missed the announcement, Australia's 24,000 GPs and 3,500 Dietitians will soon
have an new weapon in their battle against big bellies and hard arteries. Junk food can be fast
and greasy from multinationals with multi-million dollar advertising budgets or wanky and ever
so slow and creamy from obese chefs with inexplicable TV pulling powers. Either way, the
consequent early onset of ill-health is miserable and expensive.
The current weapon of choice against premature ill-health is nought but a post-hoc response. We
have a vast and miraculous hospital system with a silo of subsidised medication so that older
Australians can continue to greet the day with a zipper in their chest and bacon and eggs on their
The new weapon is three hundred pages of paper ... yes, it's our new Draft Australian Dietary
It's backed up by almost two thousand more pages of paper in the form of computer modelling
and carefully selected readings on the state of nutritional science.
This is important stuff. Healthy eating really can make medical costs plunge and quality of life
soar. Consider Cuba who now has a first world life expectancy which has passed that of the US
and is closing on Australia's. Her cancer incidence (new cases per capita per year) is less than
two thirds of Australia's but her mortality rate is 20 percent higher. Uh? How does that work?
Cuba is a poor country, it does a great job at preventing cancer but doesn't have our expensive
treatment regimes. Our approach to cancer is exemplified by the army of public minded local
community groups using BBQs to raise money for the Cancer Council's courageous battles
against the cancer those BBQs cause. The Cubans just have less BBQs and less cancer. It's kind
of obvious.
During any 5 year period only 783 of every 100,000 Cubans will battle cancer compared to 1835
Australians. Diet isn't the whole story, but the Cubans eat double the fruit, far more veggies,
almost twice as many cereals, a quarter the milk and a quarter the meat. It's carbs, carbs and
more carbs and their overweight and obesity rate is about half of ours. All that and not a single
low-carb high hype protein bar in sight!
So healthy eating can be a really big thing. While many senior Australians live out their
twighlight years managing a little bowls and a daily pill sequence memory test, the Cubans are
still doing the salsa.
But how much difference can a really big report make? More importantly, how much difference
will this particular report make?
The report begins with a lie.
Last week's Sunday Mail (Body and Soul liftout 16th January) repeats and emphasises it:
"In a world first, the focus of the guidelines is on food rather than nutrients to
make it easier for health professionals and the public to understand."
So what is Guideine 2? "Limit intake of foods containing saturated and trans fats, added salt and
sugars and alcohol".
Last I checked, saturated and trans fats were nutrients. According to a 2007 CSIRO survey of
children's food intake, about 80 percent of children are eating 50 percent too much saturated fat.
Why? Where is it coming from? What foods should children avoid?
What the Guideline authors should have said was that they focus on foods unless they are bad
foods coming Meat and Livestock Australia or Dairy Australia --- in which case the Guidelines
revert to the inscrutable language of nutrients.
New York's whistle blowing Professor of Nutrition, Marion Nestle got it right back in her 2002
expose of the meat industry's control of nutritional advice in the US --- "Food Politics".
Describing her appointment to a committee rather similar to the Dietary Guidelines committee
she recounts:
"My first day on the job, I was given the rules: No matter what the research
indicated, the report could not recommend "eat less meat" as a way to reduce
saturated fat ..."
Some things haven't changed despite half a planet and a decade apart.
If you need any further indication of who was pulling the strings on these guidlines, all you need
to do is check the references to "vegetarian" or "vegan".
The word "vegetarian" is used 29 times in the report, but, apart from a technical definition, it
never appears without some kind of warning. The Guidlines make it sound like you need to be a
bloody genius to balance your nutrient intake on a vegetarian diet. In UK and US studies of
many thousands of people, vegetarians have lower rates than the general population of almost all
major diseases. So why all the warnings? What is it about normal diets that sees so many people
bugger them up? Clearly there aren't enough warnings or the warnings are singularly obscure
like "Eat less saturated fat". My favourite piece of warning idiocy is about protein combinations.
"Those following a strict vegetarian or vegan diet need to choose a variety of
protein sources throughout the day to get an adequate mix of amino acids (p.31)"
... and "For lacto-ovo vegetarian diets, the Modelling System used a ratio of a
5:1:1 'legume:egg:nuts/seeds' ratio [as] these foods would provide an adequate
amino acid balance"
Gosh! I've been a vegan for 3 decades and regularly cycle 100+ kilometers in the Adelaide Hills.
How the hell did I managed without knowing this ratio?
I know this report is just a draft, but surely somebody did a little preliminary checking? You
don't expect this kind of bullsh*t in an expert document.
But it is an expert document, so it's best I go into a little detail. Proteins are made of amino acids,
some of which are essential. If you don't get the essential ones in adequate amount, you could
end up in hospital with an amino acid deficiency. I checked a decade of data on the Australian
Institute of Health and Welfare website and couldn't find a single case of any deficiency that
looked like an amino acid imbalance or deficiency. I asked a dietitian friend. She'd never heard
of one. Somehow the almost 900,000 vegetarians or vegans manage that balancing of 22 amino
acids ... to a person!
Now consider the other 21 million or so Australians. During the past decade almost half a
million have had major heart surgery, generally because of too much saturated fat ... either from
meat and dairy foods directly or from the excess fat removed from carcases or milk and used to
make other foods dangerous. So most Australians only have to follow one simple rule but
regularly bugger it up.
Are veggos really that smart? I decided to check. So I wrote a computer program to compare the
amino acids in foods against the latest amino acid requirments. I confirmed in excruciating detail
exactly what my dietitian friend had told me in general terms ... it takes a really bizarre food
intake pattern to flunk the essential amino acid requirements. Suppose, for example, you ate
nothing but bannanas all day? Would you get enough of the essential amino acids? Yes. Bread?
yes. Potatoes? yes. Zuccini? yes. Broccoli? yes. Any mixture of these? Yes ... obviously. You
don't actually need to eat any "protein foods" or any tricky mix to get enough of the essential
amino acids (although you may want to eat them for other nutritional reasons). All you need to
do is to eat enough food to maintain your body weight. Vegan athlete Harley Johnstone regularly
eats 30 bananas a day, when he can afford them(!), and wins both bicycle and running races.
Harley's diet is unusual for sure, but how weird do you have to be to get an amino acid
deficiency? 100 percent chips and coke should do it. Or trying to live entirely on corn flakes ...
without soy milk of course.
So as far as I can tell, of the million or so vegetarians in Australia during the past decade, not a
single one has ever been so bloody silly and we aren't all bloody geniuses. The "protein
combining" myth was started in the 1970s, with the best of intentions, by one Frances Moore
Lappe. But it was bullsh*t then and it's still bullsh*t.
For comparison, do the new Guidelines contain warnings about the risks of rabbit starvation
(which can kill you) for people whacko enough to try living on lean meat? Of course not. So why
did the Guideline authors deliberately target for blanket warnings a diet which is demonstrably,
on average, healthier than the Australian norm?
Australia needs a powerful weapon against the forces making our children fat and sick. Those
forces control the mass media with huge budgets and tiny consciences, but I reckon it will take
rather more than 300 pages of paper to defeat them ... even assuming they get the obvious meat
and dairy industry biases removed before the draft goes live.


Page reviewed: 3 January, 2013