The U.S. Department of Meat, Milk, and Cheese

Adapted from Dr. Fuhrman’s book Eat to Live:

Using weight instead of calories in nutrient-analysis tables has evolved into a ploy to hide how nutritionally unsound many foods are. The role of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) was originally to promote the products of the animal agriculture industry.1 Over fifty years ago, the USDA began promoting the so-called four basic food groups, with meat and dairy products in the number one and two spots on the list. Financed by the meat and dairy industry and backed by nutritional scientists on the payroll of the meat and dairy industry, this promotion ignored science.2


This program could be more accurately labeled “the four food myths.” It was taught in every classroom in America, with posters advocating a diet loaded with animal protein, fat, and cholesterol. The results of this fraudulent program were dramatic—in more ways than one. Americans began eating more and more animal foods. The campaign sparked the beginning of the fastest-growing cancer epidemic in history and heart attack rates soared to previously unheard of levels!


For years and years the USDA resisted lowering cholesterol and dietary fat recommendations in spite of the irrefutable evidence that Americans were committing suicide with food. Heavy political pressure, lobbyists, and money blocked the path to change.3

Promoting nutrient analysis of foods by weight instead of by calorie became a great way to keep excess calories, cholesterol, and saturated fat in the diet—a terrific strategy to create a nation with an epidemic of obesity, heart disease, and cancer. Some foreign enemy out to destroy America could not have devised a more effective and insidious plot. How ironic that this was the program designed by our own government, promoted with our own tax dollars, and justified on the ground that it served the public interest.

With all the scientific data available today, including massive investigational studies on human health and diet, you would think that people would know which foods are best to eat and why—but most people are still confused about diet and nutrition. 1. Consumer Reports (October): 1991. A pyramid topples at the USDA. 663–66.

2. Harris, W. 1995. The scientific basis of vegetarianism, 101–06. Honolulu: Hawaii Health Publishers.

3. Hausman, P. 1981. Jack Sprat’s legacy, the science and politics of fat and cholesterol. New York: Center for Science in the Public Interest.
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