Newsletter Update | January 30, 2019

The Nutrition Coalition Update | January 30, 2019

  • Close to A Thousand Americans Write USDA Secretary Perdue Asking for Balance on the Dietary Guidelines Committee

  • Vegan-leaning EAT-Lancet Found to be Biased, Backed by Vast Corporate Interests

  • Lancet Article says Observational Studies Limited to “Hypothesis Generation” Only


With just a few weeks before USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue is expected to select members for the expert committee that will determine the 2020 Dietary Guidelines, close to a thousand Americans wrote to ask Perdue to please choose a balanced committee that will represent up-to-date views of the most rigorous available science. Also, many believe the committee needs an expert in evidence-based policy who understands the difference between weak science (epidemiology) and strong (clinical trials). Why the need for this push? We’ve heard that USDA bureaucrats who’ve overseen the same one-size-fits-all guidelines for decades are not—understandably—amenable to change. Nominee applications that our group has supported have reportedly been “lost” or passed over. It’s not too late to add your voice—and make a difference. This post explains why and how to lend your voice to this effort.


Launched by corporate behemoths such as Mars, Nestle, Kellogg’s plus seven of the world’s largest chemical companies, the EAT-Lancet report claims that the only way to save the planet is to drastically reduce red meat consumption and replace it with grains, soy, and rice along with 8 teaspoons of sugar per day and 14% of calories as vegetable oils. Sound like a formula for health? The EAT diet, which is demonstrably deficient in essential nutrients as well as low in complete proteins, is supported by virtually no human clinical trials showing that it can either sustain healthy human life or protect against nutrition-related diseases. See our overview of this report, from its pervasive, undeclared potential conflicts of interest to the lack of rigorous science. What’s at stake? This industry-backed report calls for dramatic government interventions to drastically cut back on the consumption of natural foods…meaning that meat taxes could very well become a reality.

Also, for a quick primer on why more plant-based foods are unlikely to be the solution to reversing obesity and diabetes, see this chart, based on the best-available government data.
This chart makes no claims that plant foods cause these diseases; it demonstrates only that increasingly plant-based foods has not worked so far. (For a chart that breaks out sugar from the plant-foods total, see this, here).


  • U.S. Health is Continuing to Worsen: According to a recent study from the University of North Carolina, just 12 percent of Americans meet targets for cardiometabolic health without medication. And this crisis doesn’t just affect those who are obese or overweight. The UNC study found that less than one third of normal-weight adults are metabolically healthy.
    • Given that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines are mandated to serve only “healthy Americans,” this means that our national nutrition policy is irrelevant for almost 90% of the American public.
  • Canada Announces a New Food Guide that Eliminates Dairy and Meat as food groups
    • Canadian health representatives said they did not do their own reviews of the scientific literature but instead relied on those done by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. If the U.S. is indeed leading the world on nutrition, then it’s extra-important that we get it right.
  • The New York Times calls out the lack of evidence for the efficacy of low-salt dietary regimens. When it comes to heart failure, the evidence is shockingly thin — only nine clinical trials with a total of just 479 subjects. Worse, “there were no data that showed that salt restriction reduced mortality or cardiac disease” in heart failure patients. Wow… please pass the salt.
“How did America’s plan for eating right get it so wrong?”
Watch the Big Fat Lie trailer for the answer.


  • The Lancet published an important opinion piece stating that observational data is a limited science that should only be used for generating hypotheses.“[E]ven with the use of sophisticated methods to address various sources of bias,” observational data cannot replace randomized, controlled trials for establishing cause and effect. People like to say, yes, but what about smoking? There was never a clinical trial on cigarettes to show they caused lung cancer. That’s true, yet the effect sizes between heavy smokers vs. never smokers for risk of lung cancer were in the magnitude of 10-30 times greater. By contrast, the effect sizes seen in observational science on diet and health are usually <1.5. This is not strong enough to rule out confounding bias and significant measurement errors that come from self-reported food intake.

  • This paper by statisticians should be a classic. It states that the claims made by meta-analyses in nutritional epidemiology "are not statistically supported" given the large numbers of of food items sampled. This paper has widespread implications, since such meta-analyses commonly used for setting policy and more.


  1. Praise the Lard: Why the Fine, White Fat is Making a Culinary Comeback,” says the Financial Times (paywall).

  2. What are “Phat Fats,” and why is Whole Foods listing them as a top food trend for 2019?

  3. The keto diet was the number #1 most Googled diet of 2018. Also in the top five: the Carnivore and Mediterranean diets. Absent from the top five: DASH, vegetarian, and vegan.
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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.