Don’t Gut the Dietary Guidelines

The food and beverage industry has long attacked nutrition science. Now they have the Trump administration to back them up. Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services convene top scientists to review the evidence and update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Those guidelines are used by health professionals to give nutrition advice and are the basis for national, state, and local nutrition policies. For example, they are the underpinning for school meals including more whole grains, fruits, and vegetables and less salt and saturated fat.

But if the Trump administration omits or weakens any of those recommendations from the 2020 Guidelines, you can expect whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in school meals to dwindle and salt and saturated fat to climb. And that’s what may happen.

In a move that should please industry giants, the administration is attempting to cut the scope of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Their current proposal would ignore salt entirely. And it’s not clear how carefully they will look at the science behind whole grains, fruits, vegetables, saturated fat, and sugars.

Please urge USDA and HHS not to gut the Guidelines. Our children need healthy school meals. And all Americans deserve nutrition advice based on sound science.

Use the box below to add a personal comment to your letter to USDA and HHS.

Message Subject: Docket No. FNS-2018-0005-0001

Message:

Dear Secretary Perdue and Secretary Azar:

I strongly oppose limiting the review of the Dietary Guidelines to the topics and questions that USDA and HHS have proposed. The Guidelines should include the full scope of food and nutrition issues to allow me and other Americans to choose a healthy diet that lowers the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.

The Dietary Guidelines should not be limited to the topics and questions proposed by the agencies. The agencies should:

  • Not ignore sodium, dietary cholesterol, and alcohol—topics that have been addressed by all previous Guidelines and affect health.
  • Address topics in all the relevant life stages. For example, the Committee should consider the link between saturated fat and heart disease in children aged 2 to 18 and adults older than 65, not just in adults aged 19 to 64.
  • Examine the impact of replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats­­ on the risk of heart disease.

I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the proposed topics and urge the administration to provide science-based advice on the full range of nutrition issues that affect the health of Americans of all ages.