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Watch: How Special Interests Shape U.S. Dietary Guidelines

Spoiler alert: The food lobby has a hand in the results

In its latest QuickTake video, Bloomberg explains how the United States government's dietary guidelines are largely subject to the whims of special interests — specifically, the beef lobby.

As the video points out, separating what's healthy from what's not isn't always easy. The process is made all the more difficult by U.S. Dietary Guidelines. A draft of the most recent version, for instance, said "a healthy diet is lower in red and processed meats, which has been associated with increased death rates from cancer and heart disease." The final version of the latest Dietary Guidelines, however, omitted that caution — thanks to the meat lobby's intervention.

The unreliability of nutrition science, which is still a relatively young industry, is also to blame for the muddled guidelines. Many blame the current obesity epidemic, for instance, on guidelines from the 1980s and '90s, which shunned fat and lead many to over-consume carbohydrates. Many modern nutrition claims have roots in corporate sponsorship, making it difficult for consumers to separate fact from fiction — or, at least, fact from bias.

Currently, the bad guy in the nutrition world is sugar. An overhaul to nutrition labels on food packages will include information on added sugars, thanks in part to First Lady Michelle Obama's nutrition crusades. Of course, the new labels won't go into effect until 2018, at which time there might be a new ingredient consumers are urged to avoid.

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