Ask Dr. Salerno Health News

Silver Cloud Diet Weighs in on New Food Pyramid in Washington Public Hearing


The proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines continue the misguided shibboleths against saturated fats and animal foods rich in nutrient dense fatty acids, including egg yolks, butter, cream, whole milk, cheese and fatty meats including bacon as well as animal fats for cooking.  In my 20 year practice of medicine in New York City, I have treated many patients whose health had been severely compromised by excluding these necessary nutrients in their daily diet. It is my experience, backed up by scientific studies, that low fat diets have caused many of today’s lifestyle ailments including obesity, diabetes, heart disease and stroke.

Basic biochemistry shows that the human body has a high requirement for saturated fats in the cell membranes, brain and other organs. If we do not eat saturated fats, the body makes fat from refined carbohydrates, leading to rapid weight gain and chronic illness.

The proposed guidelines will exacerbate existing nutrient deficiencies that I see in my practice every day. Common deficiencies in vitamins A, D, K2 and E which are found in animal fats, vitamins B12 and B6, found in animal foods, as well as minerals including iron, calcium and zinc which require vitamins A and D for assimilation. It is my experience that these deficiencies can be easily corrected by a proper diet of whole foods, organic if possible, with naturally occurring animal fats.

I have seen, in my practice, children as young as 8 years old, suffering from type 2 diabetes, an ailment that used to be seen only in later middle age.  Why are these children getting diabetes?  Low fat milk, soy milk, apple juice, too many processed carbohydrates, and insufficient natural animal fats.  Fortunately, type 2 diabetes can be stopped in its tracks by a radical shift in the diet. Give those children whole milk, plenty of protein and natural animal fats, get the sugars out of their diets, and their diabetes will correct itself,  their weight will normalize and they will be healthy.

Our misguided dietary public policy has created a society of very sick people.  For the first time in history we see a generation who may not live as long as its parents. Particularly in the lower classes without access to healthy, whole foods, we are creating a society of people who will not be well, who will require huge public assistance and health care, and all of it could be alleviated by a proper diet.

From the viewpoint of a practicing physician,  I can tell you that our industrial food complex, in concert with big pharma have colluded to create a society where people eat nutrient-empty processed foods, and are than given an ever larger regimen of pharmaceuticals to try and turn back the inevitable ill health and death that awaits them.

What should the Food Pyramid look like? I have brought along a food pyramid that I designed when I was working as a young doctor in Dr. Robert Atkins office. You will see the differences in our Food Pyramid and the USDA’s version.

Besides the fact that our enormously powerful industrial food/farming lobby has exercised great control over public policy for at least twenty years, since I have been observing it, the results, in the time that I have been practicing medicine, have been dreadful.

When I was a boy, growing up in an Italian American family, my grandfather had a big vegetable garden out back that fed our family.  He lived to be 95 years old and was strong and active until the day he died.  I try to feed my family, whole, organic foods to this day.  My six year old son, rides with me in bicycle races for as much as 45 miles at a time. This child is healthy, vigorous, and cheerful. I feed him….

Is it impossible that Americans could eat as well as their grandparents?  Not at all.  With the growing movement towards healthier whole foods being presented not only at home, but in public schools, institutions, and food service operations,  Americans are beginning to get it.

At The Silver Cloud Diet we particularly recognize the need for saturated fats, for health, long life, and weight loss.  Saturated fats fight inflammation, support the immune system, support hormone production and protect against cancer and heart disease.

Last but not least what I see in my practice that is most heartbreaking is the rising tide of infertility.  Now that we have an entire generation of young women who have practically grown up eating a low fat diet, we see a pandemic of infertility.  The simple truth is that vitamins carried in saturated animal fats are critical to reproduction.  The 2010 Guidelines proposed by the USDA will increase infertility in this country.  This is tragic and entirely avoidable.

The knee-jerk recommendation to eat more whole grains, does not take into account the fact that whole grains are extremely difficult to digest and an overconsumption of rough whole grains can contribute to digestive disorders such as celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome.

The Silver Cloud Diet recommends that people eat a diet of whole, unprocessed foods, organic if possible, that provide an abundance of nutrients chosen from the following groups:

  1. Animal foods:  meat and organ meats, poultry and eggs from pastured animals,  wild caught fish and shell fish, whole raw cheeses, milk and other dairy products from pastured animals.
  2. Fats and oils:  unrefined saturated and monounsaturated fats including butter, lard, olive oil, cod liver oil and coconut and palm oil.
  3. Fruits and Vegetables. Fresh, organic if possible, preferably locally grown, either raw or cooked into soups and stews
  4. Nuts, legumes, and grains. Eat a handful of nuts daily for vitamin E and trace minerals.  Once goal weight is reached eat beans and lentils, brown rice, and whole grain cooked cereals for breakfast.

New Food Pyramid
We do not recommend processed foods with long lists of ingredient including chemicals you cannot pronounce. No refined sweeteners including candy, soda, cookies, crackers,cakes, chips or other snacks. Avoid white flour products such as pasta and white bread. Avoid processed foods including modern soy foods, polyunsaturated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils and fried foods.

As we say at the Silver Cloud Diet,  take a giant leap backwards. Eat the way your grandparents ate.  You take care of your body and your body will take care of you.