Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Less Advice, More Information

This seems to have crept under my radar. The International Journal of Applied and Basic Nutritional Sciences have broken cover with this paper "In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee":
  • "Concerns that were raised with the first dietary recommendations 30 y ago have yet to be adequately addressed. The initial Dietary Goals for Americans (1977) proposed increases in carbohydrate intake and decreases in fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, and salt consumption that are carried further in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) Report. Important aspects of these recommendations remain unproven, yet a dietary shift in this direction has already taken place even as overweight/obesity and diabetes have increased. Although appealing to an evidence-based methodology, the DGAC Report demonstrates several critical weaknesses, including use of an incomplete body of relevant science; inaccurately representing, interpreting, or summarizing the literature; and drawing conclusions and/or making recommendations that do not reflect the limitations or controversies in the science. An objective assessment of evidence in the DGAC Report does not suggest a conclusive proscription against low-carbohydrate diets. The DGAC Report does not provide sufficient evidence to conclude that increases in whole grain and fiber and decreases in dietary saturated fat, salt, and animal protein will lead to positive health outcomes. Lack of supporting evidence limits the value of the proposed recommendations as guidance for consumers or as the basis for public health policy. It is time to reexamine how US dietary guidelines are created and ask whether the current process is still appropriate for our needs."
My emphasis.  They are not afraid to question the absence of robust scientific method.  I particularly like the last line - questioning HOW the guidelines are created.  This is a massive question.  We all know to follow the money.  There is so much money to be made with the status quo (not to mention the 'reputational capital' of scientists and key medical figures), that transparency has suffered.  Transparency is always the first victim of illicit profiteering.

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