The Origins of Our Nutritional Guidelines | Belinda Fettke

What really underpins our beliefs about nutrition and the food we eat? 

The truth might shock and surprise you! 

Our nutritional guidelines and beliefs about food reflect a mixture of cultural, ritual, and religious beliefs and biases, overlayed by financial gains and food propaganda disbursed by manufacturers. But the influence of the Seventh Day Adventist Church (SDA) in establishing our current nutritional guidelines cannot be understated.

My family was part of the SDA church until I was about ten, so I have a unique perspective and background regarding this topic. And so does Belinda Fettke.  Belinda dove deep down the rabbit hole to investigate the religious and financial conflicts of interest that govern our food supply and government-recommended dietary intake (RDI). 

She began her research after her husband, Dr Gary Fettke, an orthopedic surgeon, was professionally reprimanded for suggesting to his patients that they limit sugar to prevent amputations secondary to diabetes. After Belinda’s work, Dr Fettke received a formal apology, and the legal ban on teaching patients about the dangers of excess sugar was retracted. 

Belinda has been a great friend over the years on our shared journey to cut through the noise and conflicts of interest and teach people how to get the nutrients they need from the food they eat.  This is something we are both extremely passionate about.  Empowering people to optimise their nutrition with an unbiased approach is crucial if we are to thrive and not merely survive.  

I REALLY enjoyed this conversation with Belinda discussing: 

  • What led you to take a deep dive into the origins of our nutritional guidelines?
  • Why do you believe excessive effort went into preventing Gary from cautioning patients to stop eating sugar to prevent amputations secondary to diabetes? 
  • Do you think the religious, ethical, or financial biases and conflicts of interest have the most significant influence? How do they overlap?  
  • How have religious beliefs influenced our current dietary guidelines? 
  • How widespread is the impact of the SDA nutritional views?
  • What is the end game of the SDA nutritional paradigm?
  • Can you change belief with science and data?
  • Why has the plant-based narrative around nutrition become so strong?  
  • What role do animals play in a vibrant ecosystem and nutrient density?  
  • What are the limitations of simply thinking in terms of plants vs. animals or carbs vs. fat?
  • Why do you think the ‘animal protein will adversely affect longevity’ belief is so strong? 
  • What are the implications of optimising your diet to minimise ‘sexual vice/function’?
  • What are the most significant financial conflicts of interest at play in our current food system?  
  • How are optimal metabolic health and hormonal function interrelated?
  • What are some of the conflicts in the major organisations shaping our dietary choices?
  • How can we move on from belief-based nutrition? Where should we focus? Do you think change will come from the top down?  
  • Why isn’t nutrition science focused on getting adequate nutrients with an appropriate amount of energy?
  • Who would stand to lose if we concentrate on getting the nutrients we need from food?  
  • What can we do on a personal level to change nutritional dogma?  
  • How do you eat at home as a family?  
  • What are you excited about in the future?  

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