Several years ago I had a meeting with Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, author of Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease.
Dr. Esselstyn was the first person I had ever heard indict our federal government for their imbalanced subsidization of animal protein. It's clear that Dr. Esselstyn has a strong bias towards plant-based eating as a means of preventing and reversing heart disease. In fact, he wrote the book. My own father-in-law is healthy living proof of Dr. Esselstyn's claims. So I have a bias built on gratitude.
But Esselstyn's assertion was broader and not just in defense of his own position. The chart above tells the story. The most recent My Plate recommendations issued by the USDA don't exactly jive with current federal food subsidies. This lack of mirroring is precisely why cheeseburgers are cheaper than chickpeas. And why does that matter? The non-profit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) points out: "More than 60 percent of the deaths in the United States are caused by heart disease, cancer, and other diet-related diseases. Approximately 68 percent of Americans are overweight or obese. In 2008, the direct medical costs associated with obesity added up to $147 billion."
Now if the availability of cheap meat and dairy has any correlation to the current state of American health, then it would seem we've subsidized ourselves sick. The recent My Plate would support this notion, if indirectly. Do you think we would have a more healthy populace if the feds spent our money subsidizing their own dietary guidelines?
We'd love your two cents to subsidize our comment section.
By Adam Butler
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