The Uproar Over New Federal Dietary Guidelines Is a Lot of Hot Air
This week the federal government published its new dietary guidelines for Americans, inspiring another round of debate over the government’s role in choosing which expert nutrition and health options to signal-boost to the nation at large.
Published jointly every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, the guidelines are based on the recommendations of a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). The committee, made up of a rotating host of expert appointees, recommends new guidelines in the form of a report. USDA and HHS leadership review the report and decide, ultimately, whether or not to adopt its various recommendations. Just as the release of the last iteration of the guidelines did five years ago, the agencies’ decision about which advice to adopt (and not) is generating criticism.
“The Trump administration has rejected an external scientific advisory committee’s recommendations that men should cut back on alcohol and that all individuals should further limit their intake of added sugars,” Politico reported this week, while noting also that the dietary guidelines “have long been the subject of political fights and intense lobbying.”
“Rejecting the advice of its scientific advisers, the federal government has released new dietary recommendations that… dismiss experts’ specific recommendations to set new low targets for consumption of sugar and alcoholic beverages,” The New York Times reported in a lede this week.
Marion Nestle, a veteran food policy researcher and a former DGAC member, told the Times she was “stunned” by the recommendations, arguing the Trump administration was ignoring the science on alcohol and sugar.
While I’m not a nutritionist and don’t have any dietary advice to offer you (and certainly have none you should take), I think it’s the critics here who are mostly wrong. In fact, I think the outgoing
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