Government revises Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Go ahead and have some eggs.

washington-post-logo-verticalBy Peter Whoriskey and Ariana Eunjung Cha, The Washington Post

Federal officials issued the eighth version of Dietary Guidelines for Americans on Thursday, altering some longstanding advice about what constitutes a nutritious meal and maintaining some food warnings despite strong debate over whether the alarm is scientifically justified.

Most notable among the changes, the government dropped its warning about avoiding cholesterol in the diet. Instituted in 1977, that caution helped sink egg sales across the country, but scientists now say the warning is unnecessary.

The new version of the influential advice book also eases up slightly on warnings about salty foods and omits a previous suggestion that Americans eat breakfast in order to stay fit. The old version of Dietary Guidelines informed readers that not eating breakfast has been associated with excess body weight, but the new version is silent on the topic.

Given the same advice, it’s not clear why we should expect different outcomes, especially when consumption data shows that over the past decades, Americans have, in fact, followed USDA advice, said Nina Teicholz, the author of  Big Fat Surprise and a board member at the Nutrition Coalition, a new group, funded by Houston-based philanthropists Laura and John D. Arnold, lobbying for changes to the way the government develops dietary advice.

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