Target: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Goal: Remove false nutritional facts from website
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website perpetuates a false nutritional fact about the distinction between complete and incomplete proteins in animal and plant products. Such emphasis misleads people into believing that only animal products provide all the essential amino acids, and contributes to ongoing common health problems in the US like obesity, heart disease, diabetes and others. The CDC should not spread misleading information based on a myth and lead people into thinking they should choose one type of diet over another.
Many people are led to believe that only animal products contain complete proteins – proteins that provide all of the essential amino acids – and that plant-based diets should follow an intricate scheme of combining different foods in order to consume all these essential amino acids that plants allegedly lack. This is simply not true as the debate on complete and incomplete proteins is a myth debunked a long time ago by its own author.
Frances Moore Lappe, author of the book “Diet for a Small Planet,” started the myth by stating that plant foods are deficient in some of the essential amino acids, so people on a plant-based diet need to eat a certain combination of foods in order to get all the essential amino acids in the right amounts. In a later edition of her book she corrected her mistake stating that “all plant foods typically consumed as sources of protein contain all the essential amino acids, and that humans are virtually certain of getting enough protein from plant sources if they consume sufficient calories.”
Not only is the CDC continuing a myth that commonly makes people to over-consume animal products, which contribute to different chronic diseases, it also puts emphasis on vegetarians needing to combine foods in their meals. Such practice – eating foods of different variety – is not only true of plant-based diets, but of virtually any diet.
By signing the petition below, you will urge the CDC to reject the myth of complete/incomplete proteins and emphasize the importance of a diverse diet regardless of whether it includes animal products or not.
Dear Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,
Under “Nutrition Basics” on your website, you have included the comparison between complete proteins in animal products and incomplete proteins in plant-based foods. I would like to point out that this comparison has been proven to be a myth and has been debunked by its own author, Frances Moore Lappe, who accidentally created this myth writing her book “Diet for a Small Planet” and later admitted to it not being true.
As you know, the typical American diet is high in animal products and large consumption of these has been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer and obesity among many others. Your misinformation of the public only fuels this disease epidemic. Not only that, but you emphasize the importance of variety in foods for vegetarians based on this myth, when in fact, diversity in anyone’s diet, whether they eat animal products or not, is important for a wholesome diet.
Please, do not continue to perpetuate myths and remind all visitors of your website that variety is important regardless of their diet.
[Your Name here]
Photo credit: Peggy Greb via Wikimedia Commons