Sunday, July 30, 2017

Type 2 Diabetes, a Dietary Disease #391: The U. S. Dietary Guidelines: “11 Points for Change”

A couple of weeks ago, while cross-fertilizing with attendees at the 2 Keto Dudes’ 1st Annual Keto Fest in New London, CT, I learned about the Nutrition Coalition. Their principal objective is to affect these “11 Points for Change” in the Dietary Guidelines (DGAs). They urge people to sign an on-line petition they’ve created. I took a look at it and did so immediately. They are so right-on, on every point, that they deserve all our support.
My first reaction to the idea was to be cynical. I was skeptical that such an effort would be effective. On reading the manifesto, however, I realized that it was so cogent and so comprehensive that it perfectly embodies and presents the reforms that are needed. It represents the “yang” to the “ying” – in the opposing rather than the complementary sense – of the present Guidelines. Hacked from their site, I list below their “11 Points for Change”: If you agree, PLEASE consider adding your name to their petition. At least you’ll feel good.
1.      Undertake a communications campaign to let Americans know that the low-fat diet is no longer recommended
2.      Ease or lift caps on saturated fats
3.      Offer low-carbohydrate diets as a viable option for fighting chronic disease
4.      Offer a meaningful diversity of diets
5.      Make the DGA diets nutritionally sufficient, with nutrients coming from whole foods
6.      Stop recommending aerobic exercise for weight loss
7.      Stop recommending “lower is better” on salt
8.      Stop telling the public that reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be accomplished by choosing “an appropriate calorie level”
9.      Stop recommending vegetable oils for health
10.  Recommend regular meat and milk rather than the low-fat/lean alternatives
11.  Don’t issue population-wide guidelines based on weak data
Each of the Coalition’s “Points” is supported by explanatory sentences and is linked to a reference.
How about that! Isn’t that exciting? This plain language “manifesto” encapsulates a fix for everything that is wrong with the dietary advice that we as a nation have been given since the “experts” 40 years ago provided supporting testimony to the politicians at the 1977 Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs. That lay committee then produced the “Dietary Goals for the United States,” aka the McGovern Report. The USDA institutionalized these “goals” in the Dietary Guidelines that they have promulgated every 5 years since.
As the Nutrition Coalition points out, these U. S. Guidelines “are the single-most important determinant for how people eat.” They say, “Our Guidelines determine” 1) Federal food programs, 2) Nutritional advice, 3) Military rations (MREs), 4) Packaged foods, 5) K-12 nutrition education, and 6) non-packaged foods.” Their hyperlinked text supports with more detail each of these aspects of Federal food policy. It is far reaching.
The cross fertilization occurred when I was talking to the father of an adult type 2 diabetic, who was just then talking to Richard Feinman, PhD, a conference speaker and nutrition icon. They were discussing a scientific paper from January 2015, popularly titled “12 Points of Evidence,” that Dr. Feinman had published in Nutrition. Directed at medical doctors, the full title is, “Dietary carbohydrate restriction as the first approach in diabetes management: Critical review and evidence base.” As Gary Taubes implied in the Afterward to his paperback edition of Good Calories - Bad Calories, he was disappointed by the medical community’s response to his “Carbohydrate Hypothesis.” As a cynic, I am more inclined to accept Max Planck’s dictum, “Truth never triumphs. Its opponents just die out.” But I did sign the petition, and I encourage you to take action. 


  1. As usual, your writing is top notch and I appreciate your views on the "Petition" - and for promoting the Petition on your wonderful blog. I note that on July 24th a group of 717 Canadian health professionals issued a letter to the Canadian Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion citing the need for similar reforms to the Canadian dietary guidelines. Yes, progress is slow, unfortunately, but I sense a certain momentum developing. Thanks for your help.

  2. Link to the letter to the Canadian Office of Nutrition Policy and Promotion: