Can't We Eat Butter and Salt?

David Talmage-NBSN 2008-001-Fall 2015

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Article Summary

This article was a Today Show story and a lead online print story online at NBC News. It seems like one would not need to search much to discover debates about the most recent recommendations from the The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Health and Human Services Department. These recommendations are made every 5 years and will impact programs ranging from school lunches to food stamps. In this article, put out on October 7th, 2015, top federal health and agriculture officials had to defend there guidelines against a Congressional committee. Members of the committee fired at officials about their frustration with contradicting science and facts presented about cholesterol and fatty foods. It seems that the committee wanted to dig into any doubts they had with the recommendations by the departments that can affect a great deal of Americans. The article goes on to talk about how the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services Department look to base their upcoming guidelines on facts and scientific studies and not allow big lobbying from the food industry affect their recommendations. Like one would expect, we learn that some of the critiques of the new possible guidelines come from companies who product the least healthy foods. They are not listed, however one could assume. One of their big initiatives is to reduce the amount of added sugars that kids are consuming to help lower individuals risks of Type 2 Diabetes and cardiovascular disease. In their conclusion the article looks to address the idea that we must teach people how to know what is good and what is bad. They go on to educate about how certain types of cholesterol are good for the body, in things like eggs, butter and milk. Yet at the same time acknowledge that saturated fat does still raise cholesterol, and this statement has been causing health professionals to throw their arms up in the air in protest.
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Article Critique

When beginning my critique I had to look at the initial source of the information I was receiving. This news story was written by NBC news and which was also featured on the Today Show. Both of these are major news entities who provided multiple citations and hyperlinks to other articles or resources that support the claims being made throughout. NBC News is a very credible source and the information and quotes that they use are cited from different individuals that were at the hearing or are making commentary on it. It looks from my initial examination that these quotes are accurately cited and they use professionals in their field of study who are an authority when discussing this topic. They also commonly quote from official statements or comments from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Health and Human Services Department. When making claims about these agencies they mainly quote Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and HHS secretary Sylvia Burwell. I would say that most Americans would look at these two organizations and or individuals as being at the forefront of the ever changing truths in regards to their diets and the healthiest recommendations that can be made. Also the article quotes comments made by Dr. Sandra Hassink, president of the American Academy of Pediatrics and Dr. Steven Stack, president of the American Medical Association in regards to the critiques of the new recommendations. Two individuals who are very high level medical professionals who surely have a great deal of knowledge in their fields. My only thought was that these agencies should work hard in hand and it seems from this critique that they are not currently. In my last examination of the article I found that when NBC News claims to talk about things like headlines that read "Butter Is Back" like those in Time magazine, they cite the article in which it is from. More often than not these articles come from other journalists with NBC News who are also writing material in regards to these topics. I believe that the information provided was very accurate and helps provide a holistic and unbiased view into the topic being discussed, one that surely effects us all.


Fox, M. (2015, October 7). Can We Eat Butter and Salt? House Members Question Diet Guidelines. Retrieved November 11, 2015, from