Congress Wants Low-Income Pregnant Women To Have High Blood Sugar
Count on "public interest" to be self-interest -- this time, from lawmakers from potato growing states.
Congress, for no particular nutritional reason, is encouraging the ag secretary to allow low-income pregnant and nursing mothers to buy white potatoes with the vouchers they receive as part of a government program. From HuffPo/AP:
That goes against the advice of the Institute of Medicine, which advises the government on health issues. The institute has said recipients of such aid already eat enough white potatoes.
...Although the Obama administration has tried on a few occasions to limit the amount of money the government spends on feeding people white potatoes, lawmakers from the roughly 40 potato-growing states, backed by the potato lobby, have worked to turn back those efforts. In 2011, Congress voted to thwart the Agriculture Department's recommendation that only two servings a week of potatoes and other starchy vegetables be served in federally subsidized school lunches. The USDA effort was an attempt to limit the proliferation of french fries on school lunch lines.
...Along with the massive spending bill approved Wednesday in the House, nonbinding language from lawmakers urges Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to include potatoes in the WIC program. If he chooses not to add them, all he has to do is submit a report to Congress explaining why.
Vilsack hasn't said what he will do. USDA spokeswoman Brooke Hardison said the agency "continues to believe in the importance of basing the nutrition standards for WIC on the best science available."
Those who oppose allowing white potatoes in the federal program worry that the budget language is a sign of more pressure to come from Congress.
Concerned that lawmakers could add potatoes to WIC in a wide-ranging farm bill, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association and other groups said in a joint statement that "to change the WIC food package because of pressure from the potato industry" could make the program less effective and that Congress should not be deciding what foods should be included in the program.
A bit on how potatoes raise blood sugar more than sugar. There are some complexities on this, however. Gregg, last night, made us mashed cauliflower in butter, which is delicious, and a great potato substitute.