I guess they're better than nothing.
I am not going to say that it is not the government's job to tell us what to eat. I think that someone has to be an advocate for keeping this country healthy, and in theory the government would be the obvious entity to do so. But I don't think they're doing a very good job.
For example, despite study after study after study that shows that full fat dairy is better for everyone for so many reasons (lower bmi, lower rates of insulin resistance, lower rate of diabetes, less risk of heart disease, increased rate of conception in women), the USDA still recommends reduced fat dairy. Check out the studies if you don't believe me. Then search "study full fat milk" in google and see how many come out pro whole milk vs anti.
Kids who drink whole milk weigh less. Whole milk helps women concieve. Full fat milk reduces risk of death due to heart disease. Women who drink full fat milk weigh less.
I could go on about "lean protein" and "low fat," but, well, it's Friday and I don't feel like it:) For those of you who don't think I'm insane for not drinking the kool-aid the USDA is trying to get us all to drink, check this out (it's a PDF):
Healthy 4 Life: The Westin A. Price Foundation's Nutrtitional Guidelines.
I've been following these nutritional guidelines for almost two years, but I somehow didn't know they had official "guidelines." This pamphlet is super informative and breaks foods into four groups (groups I myself had been using, completely independent of this resource, which is pretty awesome):
- Animal Products: meat, eggs, and dairy.
- Veggies and Fruit.
- Grains, Seeds, Nuts, and Legumes.
- FAT (the most underrated food group).
Check out the pamphlet!