Saturday, October 9, 2010

Guess what? The Dietary Guidelines are a joke

so says Adele H. Hite, M.A.T.(Department of Nutrition, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA), Richard David Feinman, Ph.D.(Department of Cell Biology, SUNY Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn, New York, USA), Gabriel E. Guzman, Ph.D.(Science Department, Triton College, River Grove, Illinois, USA), Morton Satin, M.Sc.(Salt Institute, Alexandria, Virginia, USA), Pamela A. Schoenfeld, R.D.(Department of Foods and Nutrition, College of Saint Elizabeth, Morristown, New Jersey, USA), Richard J. Wood, Ph.D.(Exercise Science and Sport Studies Department, Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA) who published the following paper in the journal Nutrition:

In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee

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.

The paper continues with:

The DGAC Report had the opportunity to review and evaluate the emerging science, to distinguish between established principles and ideas that are still areas of research or controversy, and to provide clear, consistent information for Americans. Instead, the 2010 DGAC Report continues to make one-size-fits-all recommendations that are based on evidence that is weak, fragmented, and even contradictory in nature.

In other words the DGAC screwed the pooch and filled the Dietary Guidelines with bad science (if you could even call what was written as "science"). In the Nutrition article, the authors take the DGAC to task like when the DGAC complains that Americans aren’t following the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, which of course call for consuming less fat and more carbohydrates:

Average daily calories from meat, eggs, and nuts have increased by about 20 cal since 1970 as average daily calories from flour and cereal products have increased by nearly 10 times that amount (p. D1-10). In short, the macronutrient content of the diet has shifted in the direction recommended since the 1977 dietary goals.

Total and saturated fat intakes have decreased as a percentage of calories for men, the absolute amount has decreased whereas carbohydrate intake has increased. Notable from the DGAC Report is the absence of any concern that this shift in macronutrient content may be a factor in the increase in overweight /obesity and chronic disease; the proposed recommendations suggest that this trend should not only continue but also become more pronounced.

Towards the end of the paper, the authors present a little history:

It is of interest to consider the opinion of the American Medical Association (AMA) with respect to the first implementation of dietary guidelines. In an editorial, it was stated:

“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 (pp. D1-1, D3-10, B2-3). 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.

In other words, what the public is being told about food and their diet is complete bull and those in power would rather to continue to try and shove BS down our throats instead of saying "You know what, we done goofed up for the past 30 years. Here's what the science is actually showing." I have a sneaking suspicion this is due to the high number of special interests,lobbyists, and subsidies *cough*corn*cough*

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