Hot Potato: Should WIC Guidelines be Changed?

Processing and the addition of oil and excessive salt make potatoes unhealthy--not the potatoes themselves. But should congress allow industry lobbying groups influence nutritional recommendations for the WIC program?

Processing and the addition of oil and excessive salt make potatoes unhealthy–not the potatoes themselves. But should congress allow industry lobbying groups to influence nutritional recommendations for the WIC program?

The Women Infants and Children (WIC) welfare program doesn’t allow white potatoes to be purchased with program funds. This policy decision is based on the observation that participants “already eat enough white potatoes.” In response to this the Maine Potato Lobby is urging congress to change the guideline and allow potatoes. It looks like they might have the votes to do it.

I just sent the following email to our senators (Mikukski, Cardin):

Dear Senator,

I closely follow political news pertaining to food and food systems. I recently read that the Maine Potato Lobby is objecting to standards set for the WIC program: they want white potatoes to be allowed in the program as food for women, infants, and children (white potatoes are currently not allowed).

This is a tough issue. I ask myself if I want a precedent to be set for a lobby group to command congressional intervention in nutritional recommendations. On the other hand, whole white potatoes are a healthy staple for any diet. It is the oil and excessive sodium that is usually eaten along with white potatoes that is concerning. All potatoes contain protein, a small amount of healthy fat, complex carbohydrate to fuel brain function, fiber, vitamin C, and more potassium than bananas. Science supports eating a diet based on whole plant foods (such as potatoes). There have been several creditable experiments that show a diet based solely on potatoes is nutritionally complete.

I’m not affiliated with the Maine Potato Lobby or any other interest in this matter. I just eat a lot of potatoes! I encourage you to learn more about a plant-based diet by visiting http://www.drmcdougall.com and http://www.forksoverknives.com.

My request to you, Senator, is to weigh the impact of allowing congress to act based on a for-profit industry recommendation against the merit of the recommendation itself. I wouldn’t want Coca Cola lining up next saying “we must allow WIC participants to purchase sugar-sweetened beverages because they contain vitamin C and other nutrients.” But, I do want WIC participants to eat potatoes.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the issue.

Thank you,
Chelsea

So, what are YOUR thoughts?

 

About these ads

One thought on “Hot Potato: Should WIC Guidelines be Changed?

  1. I think the entire WIC program needs to be overhauled. You can gat a minimal few dollars of fruits and veggies poet month, but they load you up with skim and 2% milk, bread that has more sugar than nutritional value, frozen juice concentrate (also just sugar), horrible fake cheese for product and the only oatmeal you can get is individually packaged instant, no whole oats in a can. The only thing healthy we were able to get for the whole month was a stalk of broccoli, a cantaloup and a pound of rice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s