This question is suggested by USDA Wants Campus Ambassadors to Talk Peers Out of 3am Taco Bell by Bridget Johnson at PJMedia. “The USDA has also launched the MyPlate on Campus partnership ‘to recruit college-age students to become campus MyPlate ambassadors.’”
If you want to sign up to be a government propagandist to your fellow students, just go here My Plate on Campus to register. You’ll get to download the Training Module which tells you how to eat and how to instruct others how they should eat.
Yes, it seems creepy to me but even aside from the creep factor, is this a good use of government funds?
The Training Module is the standard government “My Plate” boilerplate on nutrition. It still contains the blanket admonition that everyone should reduce sodium intake, although most will not benefit.
I also found out that cream and butter are not dairy. Huh.
But should we be spending government money on this? Is dietary information unavailable from other sources? Of course not. There are a huge number of diet resources, plans, web sites, books, whatever out there, some good, some bad.
Is information from the government better than information from other sources? Well, as I mentioned above, their salt intake information is out of date. They seem as influenced by fads and politics as anyone. See What the Government Tells You to Eat May Be Killing You from Radley Balko at Reason, Egg on Their Faces at City Journal. These articles question the low-fat, high carb diet recommended by the government.
From the City Journal article:
Researchers have started asking hard questions about fat consumption and heart disease, and the answers are startling. In an analysis of the daily food intake of some 350,000 people published in the March issue of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers at the Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute found no link between the amount of saturated fat that a person consumed and the risk of heart disease. One reason, the researchers speculate, is that saturated fat raises levels of so-called good, or HDL, cholesterol, which may offset an accompanying rise in general cholesterol. A few weeks later, researchers at Harvard released their own analysis of data from 20 studies around the world, concluding that those who eat four ounces of fresh (not processed) red meat every day face no increased risk of heart disease.
According to Scientific American, growing research into carbohydrate-based diets has demonstrated that the medical establishment may have harmed Americans by steering them toward carbs. Research by Meir Stampfer, a professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard, concludes that diets rich in carbohydrates that are quickly digestible—that is, with a high glycemic index, like potatoes, white rice, and white bread—give people an insulin boost that increases the risk of diabetes and makes them far more likely to contract cardiovascular disease than those who eat moderate amounts of meat and fewer carbs. Though federal guidelines now emphasize eating more fiber-rich carbohydrates, which take longer to digest, the incessant message over the last 30 years to substitute carbs for meat appears to have done significant damage. And it doesn’t appear that the government will change its approach this time around. The preliminary recommendations of a panel advising the FDA on the new guidelines urge people to shift to “plant-based” diets and to consume “only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.”
So the government may not be the best source for the most up-to-date information.
The government diet program is also infested with crony capitalism as in Chuck Schumer’s lobbying for Greek yogurt to be added to the school lunch program when one of the biggest producers of Greek yogurt, Chobani, is based in New York State.
Greek-style yogurt is more expensive than other comparably nutritious yogurts. The USDA has to pilot this program in only four states—New York, Arizona, Idaho, and Tennessee—because the bureaucrats don’t know if they can get such a highly perishable item to schools that are situated further from the yogurt distribution centers. And most important, there is one particular state and one particular business that stand to benefit from a big increase in Greek yogurt sales. Those would be New York State, where most of this yogurt is produced and Chobani, which sells the most Greek-style yogurt in the U.S., is located. All of which explains why the biggest manufacturer of Greek-style yogurt spent tens of thousands on lobbyists and worked so closely with New York’s Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer to try to get this pilot program off the ground.
Why not eliminate an program of such dubious informational value, save some money, and de-crony and de-creep government ever so slightly?