Americans Lacking Vital Nutrients
OPINION Tieraona Low Dog, M.D presented Centers for Disease Control data to Congressional staffers on the state of this nation’s nutrient status this past fall. Despite our food abundant culture, Americans are not getting enough of the essential nutrients they need for optimum health, she said. Dr Low Dog, an INNATE-edu.com contributor, nationally recognized physician, author and speaker cited CDC data, showing that nearly 90 million Americans have a vitamin D deficiency, 30 million Americans are deficient in vitamin B6, 18 million Americans are deficient in vitamin B12 and nearly 16 million Americans have a vitamin C deficiency.
Her bold statement that Americans are not getting all the nutrients they need from diet alone is also a strongly held opinion by INNATE Response™. In its latest update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2010), the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced that the average intake of “nutrients of concern” is so low that it is considered a widespread public health epidemic¹.
Forty-three foods were tested and every single one provided less nutrition when compared to the values found in the 1950’s. So, even if the average American consumed enough fruits and vegetables daily, the density of nutrients and the purity of those fruits and vegetables would make it difficult to get enough wholesome nutrition. Factors like the widespread use of pesticides, herbicides, GMO technology, long haul transportation, and nutrient depleted soil are but a few causes for these nutrient gaps.
Dr. Low Dog illustrated why the advice that food alone is enough is not attainable. She read aloud an extensive list of foods the average person would need to eat in order to get the minimum recommended amount of many individual nutrients. For example, in order to get the recommended 18mg of iron alone, the daily diet needs to look like this:
- Four cups of raisins, or
- Fifteen cups of broccoli, or
- Three cups of cooked spinach, or
- Ten ounces of beef liver, or
- 45 ounces of chicken breast
It is unreasonable to expect Americans to get all the nutrients they need from food alone. And as Dr Low Dog noted, for low-income Americans it is particularly difficult to get the minimum amount of nutrition when the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) is approved to purchase candy and soda, but not multivitamins.
“I’m extremely concerned when I hear misleading soundbites on the evening news that people don’t need vitamins because they get all the nutrients they need from their diet because it isn’t just patients who hear this, doctors also hear it repeatedly,” Dr. Low Dog said. “This mantra that Americans get all the nutrients they need from food is simply not true and the data demonstrates it is false. It is much harder than you think to get the nutrients you need from food alone.”
Data from the CDC show that tens of millions of Americans aren’t getting enough essential nutrients to ensure their bodies function optimally, a stark contrast to headlines and soundbites that assert Americans get the nutrients they need from food alone. In the past, a number of unintended consequences have contributed to vitamin and mineral deficiencies as a result of well-intentioned health campaigns. For instance, advice to avoid nutrient-rich foods like egg yolks has lead to deficiencies in key nutrients and healthy fats, says Dr. Low Dog.
Dr. Low Dog is calling for a thoughtful, coordinated approach between industry and public health initiatives to address the many complex factors like lower nutrient content in today’s foods. At INNATE Response™, we are committed to addressing these potentially damaging nutrient gaps and stand with Dr. Low Dog’s opinion that the American food system is not serving the American public.
The CDC data was presented by Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., nationally recognized physician, author and speaker, to congressional staffers at a Sept. 9 educational briefing, “Life Fortified: A Physician’s Case for Dietary Supplements,” held by the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus (DSC) in cooperation with the leading trade associations representing the dietary supplement industry-the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), the Consumer Healthcare Products Association (CHPA), the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), the Natural Products Association (NPA), and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA).
Written By Kevin Lamberg, via INNATE Response