The rise in obesity in America began after the release of the first Dietary Guidelines.
Data from:  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  National Center for Health Statistics, Division of National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys.  Prevalence of Overweight, Obesity, and Extreme Obesity Among Adults: United States, Trends 1976–1980 Through 2007–2008.

Everyone deserves reasonable access to information about nutrition and to the foods that promote health.  However, the health needs of our diverse population are not being met by current food policies and by standardized nutrition.  Healthy Nation Coalition is a non-profit grassroots organization of scientists, clinicians, public health professionals, and individuals.  We are dedicated to changing our food, nutrition, and health systems by developing an understanding and awareness of the social, cultural, and economic forces that not only impact our access to nutritional information and to the foods needed to support health, but shape our attitudes about nutrition and our relationships to food.

A sense of community has arisen around questioning our current approach to food and nutrition.  Healthy Nation Coalition has its beginnings in the ancestral health, Weston A. Price Foundation, and low-carbohydrate nutrition communities.  At the same time, we reject the notion that there is one approach to diet that works for all Americans.  However, we feel that joining these communities with other efforts underway in food system reform and government accountability, we can foster positive changes in our food, nutrition, and health systems that will benefit all Americans. 

Our personal relationships to and beliefs about food, nutrition, and health are multi-faceted and idiosyncratic.  In addition, each of us—while we have much in common—is a unique metabolic puzzle.  How do we encourage progress in our food, nutrition, and health systems—which are also complex and intertwined—with an understanding that food is not just about nutrition and that nutritional needs are highly varied?  At Healthy Nation Coalition, our goal is to promote three key concepts to address that question:

1) Nutritional Literacy – a movement to foster an understanding of cultural forces that shape our nutrition beliefs and our relationships to food and food communities

2) Individualized Nutrition – a movement towards a more-personalized approach to nutrition through essential nutrition and N of 1 experimentation and evaluation, although the “1” can also be a family, community, or other subpopulation

3) Open Nutrition – a movement to raise awareness regarding the laws, policies, institutions, and other social, economic ,and cultural forces that impact access to nutrition information and development of sustainable systems that produce foods that support health.

Help us create thoughtful progress towards a healthier future for all Americans. 

For more information about this effort:
Website:  www.forahealthynation.org

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  1. It seems to me, we need to create a Dietary Advice here for the Americans who are in need of a logical and workable advice for restoring their health. We just have to forget about fighting against the monstrous bureaucracy who does not care the ill consequence of its illogical, unscientific, unworkable, and health-hazard Dietary Guidelines.

  2. There is one! Check out the Weston A. Price Foundation Dietary Guidelines:


    Also the Dietary Dangers:


  3. I'm glad you're here. The very reason I started my web site is to get the word out for free to the general public. Had I not discovered a whole food low carbohydrate diet 11 years ago, I would probably without question be on both blood pressure and diabetic medications as I was following the dietary status-quo of a low fat program.

    I look forward to assisting in any way I can and again, thank you for your presence!

    In good health,

  4. I recently came across this article and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don't know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Really a nice post here!

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  5. I had been suffering from bursitis for 7 years. It had gradually gotten worse and worse until I limped almost all the time. I am only 56 years old and I couldn't even walk around the fair the previous summer with my husband. After 2 hours he had to help me back to the car. I have always been a very active person. I had a little arthritis in one hip, but nothing to debilitate me. The bursitis kept me from walking my dogs, and kept me from my active routine of biking and power walking. I was just trying to adjust, figuring I was just getting old. On Memorial weekend of this last year, 2011, my sister-in-law, who is an herbologist, told me about "the oiling of America", and it's claim that the oils are poisoning us and we need to go back to eating the way our grandparents ate, with saturated fats instead of oils. Forget about high cholesterol! I figured why not? I'll try eating that way for awhile and see what happens. I had a very "healthy" diet: salads everyday for lunch, skinless chicken for dinner, red meat once in a while, bran cereal for breakfast with skim milk. I had been eating like this for years. I was not overweight and had been athletic and active most of my life. I also had surgical menopause at the age of 51 that left me with hotflashes that woke me up all through the night every night for over 4 years. After I changed my diet, within a week, my bursitis was 98% gone. My hot flashes were at least 75% better. I couldn't believe it. I didn't tell anyone about it for a couple of months, because I thought it was a fluke and things would go back to normal sooner or later. But I still have all this major improvement after almost 5 months! I will never go back to a low-fat diet again. I can exercise again and my energy's back because I sleep so much better. I'm a total believer. I feel like I got my life back! My aunt died a couple years ago with a cholesterol level of 300. She never took medicine for it. She just ate normal, the "old-fashioned" way. She never worried about low fat. She was 92 when she died.

  6. To be honest, I think your interpretation of the guidelines vs the obesity rate increase is as simplistic as the guidelines are themselves. First of all, what percentage of obese people do you think actually follow the guidelines properly? Furthermore, do you not think that the trend in the graph could be linked with a range of other things (rather than a set of dietary guidelines) such as the prolific rise in soft drink and fast food consumption?? Don't get me wrong, I believe in biochemical individuality and that it is quite absurd to prescribe umbrella diets to heterogenous populations, but I don't think it is fair to simply blame the USDA guidelines. Consider the increase in sedentary behaviors among parents and children alike, our grandparents ate differently, but they also had no tv, xbox etc. They walked to school and found active things to do to fill in their spare time. People have spoken about reverting to more saturated fats and lowering carbohydrates etc but on the same token as your arguments if people all started to follow this advice we would have the exact same imbalance and people having problems with this diet. I guess what I'm getting at is what is the purpose of this campaign, what outcomes are you hoping for and how will it be achieved? The intentions are great but all arguments must be approached with rationality and consideration of both sides of the equation to avoid serious shortcomings.

    1. Any chance of me getting enlightened on how the suggested American diet is different from the Standard American Crap Diet (SACD). I don't think there is an essential difference. So there is your answer. Add to that the fact that the ingredients of our SACD are produced in an unsustainable way and will not be able to feed the extra billions down the road, and it is clear that we will have to change our diet to a more sustainable one, which happens to be a more paleo oriented, ancestral health one. Guess what.. the traditional mixed farm operation is a) sustainable b)more than 50% more productive. Check out Joel Salatin.

  7. I think clarification is needed concerning the "whole grain" part of the above statement. It needs to be made clear that grains, in whatever proportion/quantity recommended by experts (not government) are best in their WHOLE form, not processed. Brown rice is better than white rice, whole oats, whole wheat, et al, is better for nutrition than the white, bleached, pre-cooked, or otherwise processed form.

    It would also be interesting to graph the availability/prevalence of _processed_ foods to see if this correlates with the 1980 graph of the USDA government-recommended dietary guidelines. I suspect it does and I suspect this also correlates with the number of stay-at-home moms decreasing while increasing the use fast-food/processed food alternatives to whole foods for convenience and time sakes.

    1. Neither is very healthy. If you want fiber get it from your veggies. They are called nutritional fiber for a good reason. I have never thought it a good idea to eat cardboard

  8. @HollyAZRN - In general, less processed is better, although grains in any form are not essential. That doesn't mean you can't/shouldn't eat them, just that they are not necessary. You are also correct re: correlations between availability of convenience foods, etc. and obesity, but what is it about covenience foods that make them especially fattening?

  9. @gbr219 - Americans have met or nearly met all but one of the initial Guidelines recommendations (the sodium one is the exception) and these recommendations have changed very little in 30 years. We don't have any real evidence that people were considerably more active in the 60s and 70s (before obesity began to climb rapidly) than they are now. We don't know if national recommendations for more saturated fat and fewer carbohydrates would prevent chronic disease as this approach has never been tested for health benefits on a national level; we do know what effects 30 years of national recommendations to lower saturated fat and increase carbohydrates have had on the prevention of chronic disease. The objectives of our campaign include, among other things, transparency and accountability in the process for creating the Guidelines so that a complete and accurate picture of available science is represented.

  10. Where can we find your recommendations. I agree that we need a change and the conventional guidelines are misguided, but I could not see your recommended guideline or sources there of anywhere.

    Shahin Shoar

  11. Healthy Nation Coalition does not recommend any one specific dietary pattern; we primarily advocate for a full and unbiased review of the scientific evidence when determining what humans require for nourishment. We do outline a number of areas where we feel the science has not been served in this regard (see our Coalition Statement). Unfortunately, this is not a new concern. Since the first Dietary Guidelines were issued, controversies, uncertainties, and weakness in the USDA/HHS paradigm were present and have persisted for 30 years. Much of the problem stems from the shift from recommendations that focused on the provision of adequate nutrition (where the science is more certain) to the prevention of chronic disease (where the science is weak, inconclusive, and contradictory). If indeed national dietary recommendations are needed at all, they should focus on the former, rather than the latter. Perhaps Americans would be better served if we were all taught to listen to the wisdom of our own bodies and not hand over that authority to a remote and politically-motivated set of guidelines.