It’s still not official but with the publication of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee scientific report we have what appears to be close to a final version of the latest governmental recommendations about what we should eat. (1) After a process that was full of sound and fury, a tale told be an idiot signifying nothing, the new news is eat less added sugar and drink less alcohol. (2,3,4,…..)
The old official version from 2015 said we should get less than 10% of our daily calories from added sugar. Now we say less than 6%. That makes it sound exact and accurate and not just an easy to use round number.
The other new thing, the one about alcohol, goes from saying, as we have since 1980, that good drinking means 2 drinks per day, to saying we should have only a max of one alcoholic drink per day and zero drinks is even better. This is contrary to the long held belief that a little alcohol is actually good for you. This new verdict is in line with a recent analysis that made headlines by finding no amount of alcohol is good for you. This analysis in turn has since been called into question by re-analysis (references). But alcohol is not really food and calories as much as recreation, so we are into a whole ‘nother place with this issue.
Politics could still come into the final summary due out later this year. But if nothing else these guidelines that seem to change all the time, sometimes in drastically different directions, point out as Ted Kyle, the guru at ConscienHealth.org, has amply amplified, that nutrition science is hard and these guidelines always rely too much on epidemiology, that bugaboo of science.
For yet another example of this bugaboo check out this epidemiological report that claims: “For each gram per day increase in the average national consumption of some vegetables (head cabbage and cucumbers), the mortality risk for COVID-19 decreased by a factor of 11. Lettuce consumption increased COVID-19 mortality.” (5)
1. 2020. Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: Advisory Report to the Secretary of Agriculture and the Secretary of Health and Human Services. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Washington, DC.
John DiTraglia M.D. is a Pediatrician in Portsmouth. He can be reached by e-mail- firstname.lastname@example.org or phone-354-6605.