I'm afraid your parents would not have lived any longer with "government guidance concerning their consumption of salt, sugar, butter"--except maybe the sugar part. Salt is an essential nutrient and does not contribute to diabetes or obesity or, for that matter, to high blood pressure, except in individuals who are sodium sensitive, about 15% of the population. Butter also does not contribute to the development of diabetes or, despite conventional wisdom otherwise, to the development of heart disease. The rapid rise in obesity and diabetes began after 1977-1980, when the USDA issued the first dietary recommendations--eat more grains and cereals, less meat, fat, saturated fat and cholesterol--that were supposed to prevent chronic disease. Since then, overweight/obesity had doubled, diabetes has tripled, and every other chronic disease that these Guidelines were supposed to prevent has increased rather than decreased (and yes, those are age-adjusted numbers). Yes we eat more now than we did then. Virtually every single extra calorie can be accounted for by our sugar and starch consumption.
It always surprises me that individuals who are otherwise rightfully skeptical of government's ability to turn science into policy without undue influence from those who stand to gain or lose from policy changes nevertheless assume that the government got it "right" when it comes to nutrition. The Dietary Guidelines, on which those food labels you're standing in aisle reading are based, are a policy document, not a scientific one. We bet on the wrong nutrition horse back in 1977, with limited and inconclusive science--the Guidelines have remained virtually unchanged since due to a number of vested interests, included the food industry, but also including the academic/scientific/public health industry. I hope you're curious enough to at least consider the possibility that things are not quite what you've been led to believe: http://eathropology.com/
On a personal note: My dad was diagnosed with prediabetes about 6 years ago, at age 70; his brother was diagnosed at about the same time. My dad, on his doctor's and his daughter's advice, avoids sugars and starches at breakfast & lunch (which means he eats eggs and meat, along with lots of veggies) & eats whatever my mom makes him for dinner. His prediabetes not only did not advance, but disappeared altogether. My uncle did not fare so well. He was given the standard low-fat, high-carb advice & medication. He is losing his eyesight and his cognitive abilities rapidly & is not likely to make it 18 years past his diagnosis. Your doctor is giving you the right advice. If you are concerned about longevity, why on earth are you eating cereal anyway?
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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