Newsletter Update | April 27, 2018

The Nutrition Coalition Update | April 27, 2018


  • Egg Company Petitions for "Healthy" Label
  • Why Nutrition Epidemiology has Failed as a Basis for The Dietary Guidelines
  • Fatty Liver Disease and Type 2 Diabetes on the Rise


An egg company is petitioning the FDA to allow eggs to use a “healthy” label, noting that “sugar-packed foods, such as toaster pastries and pudding cups” can claim to be ‘healthy,’ but not eggs. This is due to longstanding caps on dietary cholesterol--first launched by the American Heart Association in 1961 and then adopted by the US Dietary Guidelines in 1980—based on weak, epidemiological evidence. These caps were finally dropped, by the AHA in 2013 and Dietary Guidelines in 2015, long after most European nations had done so. And what has been the potential harm of this erroneous advice? Millions of Americans needlessly avoided eggs (plus shellfish and liver), excellent sources of protein and many nutrients needed for good health. Fearful of eggs for breakfast, Americans turned instead to high-carb, often sugary cereals—this was healthier? Not likely. This is why the Dietary Guidelines must be based on rigorous science, to avoid this kind of mistake.
Following on this theme: two epidemiologists including Tufts University’s Dariush Mozaffarian wrote an article in The BMJ asserting that nutrition epidemiology has been “up to the task” of informing population-wide dietary guidelines. Science journalists Gary Taubes and Nina Teicholz (who is also Executive Director of The Nutrition Coalition) respectfully disagreed, in this response. Needless caps on cholesterol are a good example of why this kind of science is not reliable. It turns out that the claims of nutrition epidemiology are correct only 0-20% of the time, when tested in rigorous trials--which are very poor odds on which to bet for the public health. Taubes and Teicholz also ask: where are the positive health outcomes, i.e., the evidence, to establish that our nutrition policy has thus far been successful?


An article on “The Hidden Liver Crises” explores why fatty liver disease has risen so dramatically recently, affecting up to 1/3 of U.S. adults and 1/10 of children. Nutrition changes can reverse that, as Dr. Robert Lustig explains in the article.
A new CDC report released looks at diabetes prevalence in US adults. The National Health Interview Survey was expanded to include questions about type 1 diabetes, now afflicting (0.55% of adults) vs. type 2 (8.6% of adults). That is 21 million adult Americans now living with type 2 diabetes. Non-Hispanic blacks have highest prevalence: 11.52%.


A study looking at food consumption data across 158 countries—possibly the largest such study of its kind—found that “high carbohydrate consumption (mainly in the form of cereals & wheat) [was] the dietary factor most consistently associated with the risk of CVD [heart disease]." For a thoughtful analysis of this study, see our recent post.
Is sugar actually addictive like a drug? This review presents the evidence.
Another good example of why policy recommendations need to be based on solid science--this one from the world of vitamins. Based on epidemiological data, the public was told to take Vitamin E, anti-oxidants, etc., but then rigorous data showed that those supplements had no effect--or worse, were harmful. Getting people to “un-learn” what they’d been told requires a huge educational effort, which rarely happens. As this article finds, older Americans still taking too many vitamins.


Earlier this month, a study was published in the BMJ suggesting that pasta might lead to weight loss. Many media outlets like Newsweek failed to mention a glaring conflict of interest – several of the study’s authors had received funding or support from pasta company Barilla. Barilla’s influence in the nutrition debate goes beyond funding studies and press outreach, they are also donors to prominent think tanks like Foodtank in Washington, D.C.

Flip-flopping headlines on nuts. The New York Times reports “Nuts May Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease” but then, 5 months later, this: “May be Good For Your Heart but Hardly a Miracle Food.” These stories are both by a journalist dutifully reporting on epidemiological findings, which are weak, unreliable, and tend to flip-flop. So the question is: why report on them at all?


“Big Food and Big Pharma: Killing for Profit,” a recent panel at the European Parliament, included cardiologist Aseem Malhotra, the Queen of England’s former personal physician, and member of Parliament Nathan Gill, who says (at ~min 2 in the video): "I am convinced that what we need to do now is change the government’s approach, and it needs to be a top-down change, because every single day, hundreds of people are diagnosed with type 2 and type 1 diabetes. This is the epidemic of our times. And unless the government is giving valid and current and sensible advice, then a lot preventable diseases and effects diabetes which could be avoided are going to happen to people unnecessarily.” The panel was covered by the European Scientist, among other places.
A member of Canadian parliament says that he may bring forth a petition by doctors challenging the proposed “front-of-label” warnings on salt and saturated fats, which the petition contends are not based on rigorous evidence.
In the state with the highest rates of obesity in the U.S., West Virginia University Medicine’s Jefferson Medical Center has eliminated sugar-sweetened beverages from its premises. The doctor who made this happen says it’s like getting rid of smoking in hospitals: institutions about health should promote, well…health.


Did you know that the familiar smell of Crayola crayons is the smell of beef tallow? And here’s the story of how an obscure Irish brand of butter, Kerrygold, rose to become America’s second-biggest seller.


Sign our petition for Dietary Guidelines that are evidence based.
We need your support for our work toward evidence-based Dietary Guidelines--to make America healthy again.
Was this email forwarded to you? Sign up for the newsletter at
The Nutrition Coalition is a nonprofit educational organization working to strengthen national nutrition policy so that it is founded upon a comprehensive body of conclusive science, and where that science is absent, to encourage additional research. We accept no money from any interested industry.
Copyright © 2018 The Nutrition Coalition, All rights reserved.