I’ve been quite outspoken about the fact that the current U.S. Dietary Guidelines (USDG) are misguided. Based on flawed and inconclusive research to cut the fat, while consuming 50% of daily caloric intake in carbs (without any clear guidance on how to do this), that’s exactly what Americans did. The result? Since these guidelines were released in 1980, adult obesity rates have doubled, with 52% of the population diagnosed with prediabetes and diabetes.
As I’ve always said, one-size-fits-all diet recommendations are outdated. We would be better served with different guidelines for different goals and health conditions, based on scientifically valid research and well-conducted studies. Fortunately, there may be light at the end of this dietary tunnel.
The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NASEM) Food and Nutrition Board of the Health and Medical Division just released a consensus study report, “Redesigning the Process for Establishing Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, which acknowledges that changes need to be made, and that modifying the USDG will allow us to look at the entire population while defining dietary approaches that take chronic diseases into consideration, in addition to including scientific studies with the best available evidence and analyses instead of relying on opinions. These recommendations are critical at this point because it’s clear that Americans need all the help we can get in changing our nutritional approaches. We need guidelines that address all Americans, not just those who are healthy.
This once again supports research that shows that revising our dietary guidelines in the favor of controlling carbohydrate intake, emphasizing carbs in the forms of vegetables, low-glycemic fruits and controlled portions of complex grains, while supporting the consumption of healthy fats and protein, may be nutrition-based solutions to our current health crisis. I hope that the 2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines will integrate these recommendations we’ve fought so hard for. You can check out Atkins’ official statement here.