STATES CHRONICLE – It’s not even published yet, but complaints have already been voiced that 2015’s U.S. Dietary Guidelines may not be scientifically correct, recently scolded for not taking all relevant studies into consideration, and possibly falling prey to a conflict of interest.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines are done by a report condoned by an advisory committee, whose job is to review all the scientific studies regarding nutrition and formulate the proper recommendations to promote health and fight diseases.
It’s a high point of influence in both the United States and many Western nations, ranging from labels to food choices, doctor recommendations or medical studies.
It’s an incredible source that many guide themselves by, but has recently been under fire due to a published article by Nina Teicholz in the British Medical Journal, and several others who agree with her statements. The journalist has criticized the committee for overlooking several important sources and basing their report on “weak scientific standards”.
At one point, they might’ve been applicable, but the journalist has stated that they did the report based on previous research that has since been disproven, or at the very least, modified. It’s essentially a critique that the committee has not kept themselves properly up to speed and that they haven’t done their own research to back up their claims.
For example, the Department of Agriculture has established the Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL) in 2010, that was a systematic method to determine, choose and review significant researches regarding food, to be taken into considering for dietary guidelines.
However, they have reported that the advisory committee did not use their research for over 70% of the topics, and instead relied on studies done by external groups.
That has sparked the protests from several experts, and Teicholz has brought up the issue of conflict of interest between them and the American Heart Association or the American College of Cardiology, who are “heavily supported by food and drug companies”. It has been implied that using their research might not necessarily reflect reality.
One of the issues, for example, has been saturated fats that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines has stated that should not exceed more than 10% of total calories due to its relation to cardiovascular diseases.
However, experts, such as Jeff Volek, and professor of human sciences at Ohio State University, has claimed that they had highly overstated the risk of saturated facts and ignored relevant research.
Volek has stated that advising people to limit their calorie consumption from saturated fats will lead to them compensating for the loss by consuming carbohydrates and sugars, which further cause obesity and diabetes, both of which are high current concerns.
Member and chairwoman of the committee, Barbara Millen, however, has stated that they took all studies into consideration that were relevant and complied to their criteria, including the issue of ‘conflict of interest’ as members were carefully screened.
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