Groups Question Federal Guidelines on Food

Thursday, October 27th, 2011 | Activities

It seems nobody likes the government to tell us what to eat.

In the face of a federal push to restrict salt in food production, the industry’s trade association has launched a pro-salt campaign that it describes as its most aggressive challenge ever to federal research.

Food industry groups have fought for decades to shape federal nutritional guidelines. In the past several months, salt advocates have taken aim at the government’s methodology, joining a chorus of doctors and dietitians who have long questioned the scientific basis of many federal dietary recommendations.

In the face of contradictory evidence: Nutrition article presentation

Friday, October 14th, 2011 | Activities

Concerns that were raised with the first dietary recommendations 30 y ago have yet to be adequately addressed. The initial Dietary Goals for Americans (1977) proposed increases in carbohydrate intake and decreases in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt consumption that are carried further in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report. Important aspects of these recommendations remain unproven, yet a dietary shift in this direction has already taken place even as overweight/obesity and diabetes have increased. Although appealing to an evidence-based methodology, the DGAC Report demonstrates several critical weaknesses, including use of an incomplete body of relevant science; inaccurately representing, interpreting, or summarizing the literature; and drawing conclusions and/or making recommendations that do not reflect the limitations or controversies in the science. An objective assessment of evidence in the DGAC Report does not suggest a conclusive proscription against low-carbohydrate diets. The DGAC Report does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that increases in whole grain and fiber and decreases in dietary saturated fat, salt, and animal protein will lead to positive health outcomes. Lack of supporting evidence limits the value of the proposed recommendations as guidance for consumers or as the basis for public health policy. It is time to reexamine how US dietary guidelines are created and ask whether the current process is still appropriate for our needs.