Thursday, August 28, 2008

Brainwashed


“Brainwashing: The application of a concentrated means of persuasion, such as an advertising campaign or repeated suggestion, in order to develop a specific belief or motivation.”

The American Heritage Dictionary


Brainwashed is a strong, emotionally charged word. But it is appropriate when we consider our beliefs about food. Ever since the 1940’s, when Danish scientists discovered a link between the consumption of animal products and disease, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the food industry to brainwash the American people.

The American Meat Institute, the National Dairy Council, the National Dairy Promotion Board, the Cattlemen’s Beef Association, among others, spend hundreds of millions of dollars every year with the express purpose of increasing the demand for animal products. They do this in incredibly devious ways.

“For modern animal agriculture, the less the consumer knows about what’s happening before the meat hits the plate, the better…”

Peter Cheeke, professor of animal science

The obvious advertising that we see on television and in newsprint is only the tip of the iceberg. The hideousness of the work being done to convince you and me to eat more animals is executed behind the scenes, in the committees that make up the reports that make advertising more convincing and make the truth about what is healthy to eat and what is not more confusing.


Here is one area in how this brainwashing works: An Act of Congress created the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) in 1863. NAS created IOM (Institute of Medicine), which has the role of advising the government on issues of health. A part of the IOM is the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB), which makes recommendations concerning food, nutrition, and health. Since 1940 the FNB has been establishing principles and guidelines for adequate nutrition and the relationship between food and health.

The Food and Nutrition Board publishes highly respected findings telling the American people what is good to eat and what is not. They have been doing this since before many of us were born. We grew up with their published reports informing everything and everyone about nutrition.

Just for fun I googled several of the current members of the board. I started with the board chairman, pediatrician Dr. Dennis M. Bier. This is what I found in his conflict of interest statement for the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Dr. Bier consults for ConAgra Foods (they produce many brands of processed foods and meat products), Mars (the candy people), and McDonald’s (you know who they are).

The previous chairman was a paid consultant for the National Dairy Council, Nestle, and Dannon. He is now a senior executive for a large food corporation. You might suspect that this is a payoff for his good work their agenda.

Next down the line, I looked up vice-chair Michael Doyle. According to Integrity in Science, he has received numerous grants from the American Meat Institute and is a paid consultant of Kraft Foods.

Jim Riviere is a paid consultant for numerous drug companies. Fergus Clydesdale receives funding from Kraft and owns stock in several food companies. Six of the eleven members have direct ties to the dairy industry.

While government scientists cannot receive personal compensation from the food industry, these academics serving on the FNB board can. Conflicts of interest abound. And these are the people given the responsibility to “render authoritative judgment on the relationships among food intake, nutrition, and health.”

“Although sponsorship by food companies is ubiquitous among academics and practitioners in the fields of nutrition, food, and agriculture, our community has paid scant attention to the conflicts of interest that might arise from this. Like drug and tobacco companies, food companies often sponsor academic work (and in fact many drug and tobacco companies own food companies).”

Marion Nestle, Dept. of Food and Nutrition, NYU

It was this committee that in its most recent report made recommendations stating that for good health adults should get 45% to 65% of their calories from carbohydrates, 20% to 35% from fat, and 10% to 35% from protein. They also said that it was okay to consume up to 25% of total calories from added sugars found in soft drinks, candy, pastries, and other sweets. We are told that by following these guidelines we will minimize the risk for chronic disease.

That means that you could have a bowl of Fruit Loops and a Snickers bar for breakfast, a cheeseburger for lunch, and pizza and soda for dinner, and still be within the FNB guidelines. Essentially, they’re telling you to eat whatever you want.

“My eight-year-old stepson, upon finding out that I don't eat meat or anything coming from an animal, told me that I will never develop any muscles because muscles come from animals.”

Kirsten, Internet e-mail posting

The FNB and committee members affect how people eat in a variety of ways. They establish the Food Pyramid. They influence the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, the Food Stamp Program, and the Women, Infants and Children Supplemental Feeding Program. Approximately thirty-five million Americans are provided food by government programs based on what the Food and Nutrition Board recommends. In addition, what we eat in hospitals and nursing homes is determined by FNB.

The brainwashing doesn’t stop there. The food industry has its hands in many other important avenues of influence. Nutrition journals take money from the food industry and companies through corporate sponsorships. The food companies also sponsor nutrition conferences and the publication of academic papers. Sponsored papers are not even subjected to peer-review.

The Dairy Council and the National Cattleman’s Beef Association sponsor research sessions. Travel funds, gifts, and meals are used to gain influence and interest in products being sold.

Associations themselves cooperate. The American Heart Association receives money from Kellogg’s, and then gives its seal of approval on foods like Frosted Flakes, Fruity Marshmallow Krispies, and Pop-Tarts. The American Dietetic Association receives significant funding from McDonald’s, Kellogg’s, and other food companies.

The entire system of official information about food is under the control of the food industry. Is there any wonder why in America cancer, heart disease, diabetes, and obesity have become epidemics? And if that doesn’t kill you, the health care system will (the third leading cause of death in the US). We are being brainwashed into eating foods that are killing us, and the food industry profits from our illness. At the same time big medicine is kept in business. They have major incentives to keep their mouths shut; otherwise they would be out of work.

The human mind is an interesting thing. It is capable of believing whatever it wants to. We select what we want to see and hear and believe. We want to believe that the big steak we are about to eat is good for us, providing us with protein. If it isn’t the steak, well then, the chicken, or the fish. Hey, pizza is a health food; after all it contains all the food groups.

You will never hear the food experts on the Today Show or Good Morning America tell you the truth about nutrition. Why? Because if they did, their sponsors would stop advertising with them. Even here the food industry manipulates the truth. The only place we find real research answers is where there is no influence from money—books and unsponsored Internet sites.

It is my hope that after reading this you will open your mind to some new possibilities. Just being aware of how you have been lied to and used all of these years will free you from much of the misinformation that you have been fed. Now we will get to ideas that are not being forced upon you so that someone, somewhere can make a buck. Let’s get at the raw truth.

2 comments:

Rosemary said...

Right-on. You cannot go to a government agency for truth. I try very hard to dig deep and then sort that information taking agendas into consideration. Also, I do try to top all that off with some good old fashioned common sense. Keep up the good work.

Not So Milky Mom said...

Your entry inspires me! I started a blog about the dairy so I could help convince our school district to change the milk supply to organic, hormone-free milk or just replace it with almond milk.

I look forward to more interesting information about raw foods. I am at about 70 - 80% raw foods, and I am not ready to give up the 20% of cooked dishes.

Keep up the good work!