Ready Already to Fight About 2020 Dietary Guidelines

Ready to rumble? Well, like it or not, the cycle is starting for USDA and HHS to develop the 2020 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans. And so, people are already ready to go for a win on their hot button issues.

This time around USDA and HHS asked for public input on the scope of issues the new guidelines should address. The deadline for those initial comments was Friday. So now you can browse those comments and get a pretty clear idea of what’s on everyone’s mind.

Policy vs Science

One big theme is stick to nutrition science. Food producers who feel like targets for haters favor this theme. That would include meat producers and the beverage industry. Those guys are sick of being battered and vilified by emotional arguments. With objective science, they feel like they have a fair chance. Environmentalists and nutrition activists – needless to say – feel quite differently. They call it looking at the big picture. Environmental science and moral issues come into play.

Saturated Fat

When the low-fat everything concept fell apart, one related bit stayed in place. That would be the recommendation to avoid saturated fat. Which means that the authorities are still recommending low-fat dairy. But the dairy industry says:

The emerging science which calls into question the received wisdom on saturated fat should be examined objectively and thoroughly. While the response of the nutrition establishment has been generally dismissive, this is a legitimate topic where it is not clear that the past demonization of saturated fat has been justified.

The new science suggests that long standing advice to consume low-fat and fat-free dairy may be unnecessarily restrictive and, if overall caloric intake remains appropriate, there is room for including whole milk and other full-fat dairy foods in the diet.

Plants vs Meat

Vegetarians and animal rights advocates are pressing for more emphasis on plant-based diets. The Peanut Institute is good with that. Meat producers, not so much. The Cattlemen’s Association says red meat is an essential part of a healthy whole food diet.

Juice vs Fruit

Harvard’s Food and Law Policy Clinic want guidelines to promote whole fruit over juice. The Juice Products Association says guidelines need to set aside confusion and misinformation about the healthfulness of 100% juice.

Where you stand depends on where you sit. Nutrition guidelines bring out some strong passions that tend to blur the facts. The next phase is a thorough review of evidence to inform the 2020 guidelines. Stay tuned.

Click here to browse the comments and here for more from FoodNavigator USA.

Battle, painting by Nicholas Roerich / WikiArt

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April 2, 2018