New Dietary Guidelines: Help or Hindrance?




Have you tried navigating through the voluminous report the US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) has recently published to help us make healthier food choices? While there is much good information in the report, what most of us want is simplicity – guidelines that are clear, complete and accurate, without the influence of special interest groups. Unfortunately, this is not what we get.


Dr. Walter Willett, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition and Chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health said this about the new Guidelines:


The 2016 Dietary Guidelines are improved in some important ways…Unfortunately, Congress censored the scientific Advisory Committee’s conclusion that red meat consumption should be reduced for reasons of planetary health … it is not possible to have food security if our food supply is not sustainable… the USDA …also censored the scientific Advisory Committee’s conclusion that consumption of red and processed meat should be reduced for health reasons. (Recall the recent announcement by the World Health Organization that both were found to be carcinogenic.)


Dr. Willet goes on to say: Further, the clear scientific conclusion that sugar-sweetened beverages should be reduced were also censored in the final recommendations. .. the USDA has engaged in censorship and obfuscation. Clearly these Guidelines bear the hoof prints of the Cattleman’s Association and the sticky fingerprints of Big Soda. They fail to represent the best available scientific evidence and are a disservice to the American public.


And Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale University’s prevention research center, notes that the official Dietary Guidelines are “put together by federal agencies accountable to Congress…and are what politicians think should be done rather than what actual experts (the scientific Advisory Committee) think.”


 If you want the whole story on nutrition, I advise you expand your reading to include authors such as Dr. Joseph Mercola who offers a wide variety of current health and nutritional research, Mark Hyman, preventative health MD, Ann Louise Gittleman, nutritionist and author, and Marion Nestle, nutritionist, author (most notably “Food Politics” and “What to eat”) and sociologist.  There are many others. And keep an eye on this blog for future discussions!






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