What we’re told: America is one of the most obese countries in the world because of the American dietary guidelines.

What we’re NOT told: Japan is one of the leanest countries in the world and they have virtually identical dietary guidelines as America’s.

Not to mention the fact that Americans don’t even follow their own dietary guidelines.

Here:

Here:

And here:

In particular, as we see in this chart…

Even if we include items 1, 9, 11, 14, 16, which includes some truly dubious items, starches are only constituting 20.4% of American calories, a far cry from the nearly half of the diet as recommended by the guidelines.

Also, because Japanese culture is not to distrust government (source: married to a Japanese chick), conceivably the Japanese would be even MORE likely than Americans to follow the dietary guidelines.

“SO WHY AREN’T THE JAPANESE FAT? *paroxysms*”, you might ask?

Maybe, just maybe, because dietary guidelines are a minor factor in determining a country’s overall dietary intake, and other factors like culture, food availability, etc. are more important?

UPDATE

To drive home this point, let us look at a common criticism of the argument I have been making: “But the American food pyramid and Japanese spinning top really are quite different. The Japanese spinning top includes about twice as much meat, for instance!”

But is this really an explanation? When we look at food availability per capita (source: FAO-STAT), we see that while the Japanese guidelines encourage twice the meat consumption as the American guidelines, the Japanese actually consume less than half the protein from meat as Americans:

To repeat verbatim, then:

Maybe, just maybe, because dietary guidelines are a minor factor in determining a country’s overall dietary intake, and other factors like culture, food availability, etc. are more important?



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