New Dietary Guidelines Released – Controversy Ensues

January 31 saw the release of the report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee – and based on the lack of scientific evidence, rebuttals.

The new guidelines (which can be downloaded here: http://tiny.cc/keqz8) recommend that consumers cut back on fats, salts, added sugars and refined grains and eat more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy products, lean meats, poultry and seafood. Not much changed but the guidelines have produced controversy.

The most striking rebuttal comes in a scientific paper published in Nutrition Journal (download it here: http://tiny.cc/t3juk) titled: In the Face of Contradictory Evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee.

Written by six scientists, including three PhD’s, the rebuttal is highly critical of the guidelines and serves it in a historical context. In 1977 the initial set of American Dietary Guidelines {ADG} were released and the goals included: reduce overall fat consumption to 30%; increase carbohydrate consumption to 55-60%; and reduce cholesterol to 300mg/day.

In response to those guidelines, the American Medical Association said : We believe that it would be inappropriate at this time to adopt proposed national dietary goals as set forth in the Report on Dietary Goals for the United States. The evidence for assuming that benefits to be derived from the adoption of such universal dietary goals as set forth in the Report is not conclusive and there is potential for harmful effects from a radical long-term dietary change as would occur through adoption of the proposed national goals.

“In the three decades since, carbohydrate consumption has increased; overall fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol consumption have decreased to near or below targeted levels; caloric intake remains within recommended levels; and leisure-time physical activity has increased slightly. At the same time, scientific evidence in favor of these recommendations remains inconclusive, and we must consider the possibility that the “potential for harmful effects” has in fact been realized. Notably, “the prevalence of overweight and obesity in the US has increased dramatically in the past three decades”; and the number of Americans diagnosed with T2D (Type 2 Diabetes) has tripled,” the rebuttal states.

Finally, the rebuttal states: It is time for public health leaders, scientists, and clinicians to stop blaming Americans for not following the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and instead to re-examine the process used to formulate the US dietary guidelines and determine whether or not it is still appropriate for our current needs.

Gary Taubes just published his second book, Why We Get Fat, a follow-up to his bestselling Good Calories, Bad Calories – and comes to very similar conclusions. It is not the fat – it is the carbohydrate consumption that is primarily responsible for the obesity epidemic as well as the enormous increase in Type 2 Diabetes we are currently witnessing, according to Taubes.

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