A matter of scale

During my vacation to Margarita Island in Venezuela, my wife had planned for us to stay one night at the nicest hotel on the island. She wanted me to see the best her country had to offer. Nevertheless, the hotel called the day before our arrival to tell her the entire property had lost power. All current guests had been evacuated, and there was no timeline for power to be restored.

This being Venezuela, the story was certainly plausible. However, there was a rumor going around that the government needed to clear the hotel at the last minute for some diplomatic gathering. Current and future guests were SOL.

As Americans, we can smirk and imagine that this kind of corruption could never happen here. Well, I have news.

This week I learned that in 2011, the USDA and HHS replaced the infamous food pyramid with something called the nutrition plate. If you read through the MyPlate 2020-2025 dietary guidelines PDF, all 164 pages, you can feel the writers struggling with their remit. They are on the one hand striving to reverse the shame of the food pyramid, while on the other hand working to keep Big Food’s (and Big Pharma’s) golden goose alive.

You might think that these obscure guidelines are just busywork for hundreds of employees at two federal agencies. In reality, many jurisdictions have laws binding local entitles to federal guidelines, and any institution accepting federal dollars must comply. Think hospitals, schools, jails, food banks.

We saw this predicament with the CDC’s preposterous Covid interventions. Long after they were proven failures, CDC guidelines were still being enforced by schools and summer camps. Compliance is not only required in many instances by law, but also is necessary for these organizations to avoid civil liability.

So what do the new dietary guidelines say? Well for one, they recommend 6 oz of grains per day — not 6 oz of carbs, just grains alone — on a 2,000-calorie diet. The math comes out to one-third of calories per day coming from just grains. Now, fair-minded people can debate whether 33% of calories daily from carbs is too high, but no sensible person would argue a healthy diet consists of 1/3 grains. Total carbs for the day are piled on top of this massive base of grains.

Here lies the definition of regulatory capture: the for-profit entities most affected by government standards lead the drafting of those standards. The federal government has paved the way — mandated really — for hospitals to serve diabetics for breakfast a tall glass of orange juice, a bowl of oatmeal, and a bagel. Venezuela has nothing on us.

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