Current Week

Dietary Guidelines – Confused About Caffeine

March 25, 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This is Rick Frank sitting in for John Block. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The news wires have been buzzing lately about the recently released scientific report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. One of the hottest topics for discussion is how out of step the report is on a number of issues, including the Committee’s dive into political matters like sustainability, soda taxes, and “added sugar” labeling. These topics are outside the jurisdiction of the Dietary Guidelines and should be addressed by Congress or the FDA.

Today, I want to discuss caffeine consumption. Caffeine is something that has never been addressed before by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and probably for good reason. First, caffeine is safe...and safety is outside the mandate of the Dietary Guidelines. It is a topic that fits firmly within the jurisdiction of the FDA. Secondly, America seems to know what it’s doing when it comes to caffeine. 85% of Americans consume caffeine every day – and they have done so safely for generations.

In the Committee’s conclusions on caffeine, they suggest that 3 to 5 cups of “Morning Joe” are just fine – up to a moderate intake level of 400 milligrams per day for healthy adults. Inexplicably, however, they seem to suggest that energy drinks with the same amount of caffeine should be avoided.

The Committee’s approach is troubling for a number of reasons, the least of which is that many coffee house chains serve coffee beverages that contain twice as much caffeine per fluid ounce as a standard energy drink. A typical small can of a leading energy drink contains 80 mg caffeine, which is roughly the same as a regular cup of coffee or a 20 ounce bottle of cola.

Why is the Committee treating caffeine in coffee differently from the caffeine in energy drinks? This is puzzling when we consider that caffeine is caffeine is caffeine – whether found in coffee, tea, cola. The report acknowledges that the largest sources of caffeine among both adults and children come from coffee, tea, and soda. So why is caffeine in coffee okay, while tea and soda are ignored and energy drinks are vilified? Possibly it’s politics!

The Dietary Guidelines should provide a practical and achievable set of dietary and nutrient recommendations, based on balance, variety, and moderation. It should not delve into political topics that If the Dietary Guidelines are to address topics like caffeine, it should be done holistically and in an unbiased way.

Consumers need to understand caffeine in context and be provided information with respect to all sources to enable them to make informed dietary decisions. Let’s hope that the USDA and HHS take the lead on the important task of finalizing the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in a scientific rather than a political and an emotional way.

Until next week, I am Rick Frank sitting in for John Block from Washington, D.C.

Previous Weeks

TPA

March 19 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Seven former Secretaries of Agriculture (including yours truly) (Republicans and Democrats) signed a letter supporting Trade Promotion Authority (TPA). President Obama’s Secretary of Agriculture Vilsack and the U.S. Trade…

Read More/Listen

Farming Contrast

March 12 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I’ve been on my Illinois farm this week. Having been on Cuban farms last week, I can’t help but note the amazing contrast. Just flying into Havana, I observed the plowed fields were red – red soil. Our soil is black. I…

Read More/Listen

Cuba

March 5 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

I am just back from Cuba. I have been in Cuba on two other occasions in years past, and on this visit, I am more encouraged than ever that normal relations are on the way.

Just because President Obama has started the process…

Read More/Listen

Dietary Guidelines

February 26 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Today, there is growing concern about the food we eat. We have a serious obesity epidemic. What do we do? The new Dietary Guidelines are in the process. President Obama’s appointed Advisory Committee has given their recommendations to…

Read More/Listen

Measles, GMs and Science

February 18 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Who would have ever predicted that measles would have been in the headlines day after day? I didn’t think anyone got measles today. Not the case when I was a kid. Everyone had measles and whooping cough and mumps. No big deal. The most…

Read More/Listen

Chicken and Eggs

February 12 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The State of California has a reputation for leading in many ways – especially in the area of government regulations. Now, they have bit off almost more than they can chew. Certainly, the poor will not be chewing on many eggs since the…

Read More/Listen

Our Budget

February 5 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Did you write a budget for your farm, your business, or your family? If you did, you are well ahead of the federal government. We haven’t had a budget in 5 years. Hopefully, that will change this year with Republicans in charge of both…

Read More/Listen

Oil

January 29 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

The biggest story of 2014 is not the turmoil in the Middle East, not about China, or Islamic Terrorism. The story is oil. Go to the farm in Illinois and you can fill up your car for less than $2 per gallon. I’m looking forward to…

Read More/Listen

Wish List

January 22 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Last year in January, I presented my wish list for 2014. Let’s take a look at how that worked out.

Wish No. 1: “Get a farm bill passed.” To my surprise, we did.

Wish No. 2: “Deal with our immigration problem.” Well, the…

Read More/Listen

Gas Tax

January 15 2015

Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by Monsanto, and John Deere. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

How many of you out there think that we would be well-advised to spend some money repairing our roads and bridges? What about our locks and dams and seaports that carry our grain to countries around the world? Are you aware that our…

Read More/Listen

Page 1 of 84 pages  1 2 3 >  Last ›