The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is a failed policy charged the Healthy Nation Coalition (HNC) in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. The nutritional recommendations perpetuated by the DGA, according to the HNC, have contributed to “worsening health outcomes.”
Among its objections:
- The DGA has not provided guidance compatible with essential nutrition.
- The guidelines represent a narrow approach to food and nutrition that is inconsistent with the diverse cultures, ethnicities and socioeconomic classes found in the United States.
- The guidelines are based on weak and inconclusive scientific data.
The letter urges Burwell and Vilsack to focus on adequate essential nutrition from “whole, nourishing foods, rather than replicating guidance that is clearly failing.” Critics of the DGA say that
In 1977, Americans were urged to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol from animal products (meat, butter, eggs, whole milk) and encouraged to increase the intake grains, cereals and vegetable oils. The coalition notes that these recommendations were institutionalized in 1980 and have continued. The coalition states that the incidence of heart failure, stroke and rates of new cancers has risen during the same time period. Diabetes rates have tripled, according to the letter.
The HNC urges the DGA to focus on food guidance that returns the guidelines to a focus on essential nutrition. The coalition would like to take the responsibility of the Dietary Guidelines from the federal government and have it assigned to one or more independent agencies, offices or entities that can create dietary guidance without bias and that is responsive to the needs of the American people.