The Science Behind the Dietary Guidelines: Is It Sound?
A look at the disputed science on:
- Salt: is lower always better?
- Saturated fats: do they cause heart disease?
- Total fat: is the low-fat diet recommended?
- Fat and cancer: does fat of any kind cause cancer?
- Fat and obesity: does fat make you fat?
- Low-carbohydrate diets: have these been adequately researched?
- Dietary cholesterol: does cholesterol in your food lead to higher blood cholesterol?
- Red meat: does it cause heart disease and cancer?
There are questions about the reliability of the consumption data (NHANES) upon which the Guidelines’ assumptions are based. Read more here…
The 2015 expert report for the Dietary Guidelines portrays a high degree of certainty about the state of knowledge regarding nutrition and disease. It says,“The evidence base has never been stronger to guide solutions” (Part B, Ch 2, p. 5, lines 159-160). However, on many key issues (see above), there is substantial debate among scientists about the state of the evidence.
The degree of certainty portrayed in the Guidelines is due in large part to a decision, by the 1995 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, to simplify language for non-scientific readers. Thus, the committee opted to remove qualifying words, such as “the probably’s, whereas’s, could’s and might’s,” [sic] in order to make the messages “clear and unambiguous.” This level of confidence did not accurately reflect the state of the evidence yet continues to characterize the Guidelines.
Before 2015, there was also significant concern about previous Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Read more here…