What’s Wrong With the 'U.S. Dietary Guidelines,' Report Reveals

Sep 24, 2015 08:24 AM EDT | By Jaja Agpalo

A new research found fault with the proposed changes in the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, particularly around saturated fat.

The U.S. government released its dietary guidelines for Americans to provide guidance for national policies and programs regarding nutrition and to help men, women and children make the healthiest choices, Time reported.

The U.S. government's health and agricultural agencies are currently reviewing the guidelines. However, journalist Nina Teicholz penned that the dietary guidelines advisory committee -- which provided the report meant to inform the new guidelines -- was disinclined to "consider any evidence that contradicts the last 35 years of nutritional advice."

The author of "The Big Fat Surprise" said that the committees in the past used the Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL) to systematize the process of collecting and considering studies as the basis of the guidelines. Conversely, Nina discovered that the team for the 2015 guidelines did not use NEL reviews for the 70% of the nutrition topics it covered.

"Use of external reviews by professional associations is problematic because these groups conduct literature reviews according to different standards and are supported by food and drug companies," the researchers wrote in the report.

The report added that the committee placed sugar and saturated fat together under a classification called "empty calories." Nina stated that nutrition science does not upkeep that category since saturated fats are used up largely in foods like meat, dairy and eggs, which hold lots of nutrients and vitamins essential for health.

"Saturated fat is not empty calories. Sugar is not empty calories," Dr. Robert Lustig, co-founder and president of the Institute for Responsible Nutrition and a professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco said. "Sugar is not dangerous because it's calories; sugar is dangerous because it is toxic calories."

The new report highlighted the fact that members of the committee have clashes of interest which are not mandatory to be revealed. The Tree Nut Council provided research funding to one member of the team while Lluminari released more than $10,000 to another.

Aside from Nina, British Medical Journal editor-in-chief Dr. Fiona Godlee released harsh criticisms the "an unscientific report" from "a biased expert committee, Diet Doctor informed.

"These guidelines are hugely influential, affecting diets and health around the world. The least we would expect is that they be based on the best available science. Instead the committee has abandoned standard methodology, leaving us with the same dietary advice as before - low fat, high carb," Dr. Fiona said.

"Growing evidence suggests that this advice is driving rather than solving the current epidemics of obesity and type 2 diabetes. The committee's conflicts of interest are also a concern. We urgently need an independent review of the evidence and new thinking about diet and its role in public health."

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