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keskiviikko 14. heinäkuuta 2010

Critics Cry Foul over Proposed Dietary Guidelines

WASHINGTON—Curbing America’s obesity epidemic was a driving factors behind the newly proposed 2010 Dietary Guidelines that suggest reductions in sodium, sugary drinks and saturated fats among others. The report, released in June by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, has been met with criticism from many who argue the proposed 2010 revisions are worse, will not prevent obesity and only will increase degenerative disease in the United States.

According to scientists, nutritionists and consumers who testified July 8 at a USDA public hearing on the report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), the proposed 2010 revisions to the Dietary Guidelines are worse, and will not prevent obesity and only will increase degenerative disease in the United States.

Those testifying focused on the committee’s misuse of scientific data to justify a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet. Dr. Jeff Volek, scientist and academic researcher at the University of Connecticut, said the DGAC report ignored scientific studies showing the effectiveness of low carbohydrate diets for weight loss.

“We expected the new guidelines to recognize current research that vindicates saturated fats as a cause of heart disease and weight gain, and to acknowledge the demonstrated benefits of lower carbohydrate diets,” said Dr. Richard Feinman of Downstate University, New York.

In response to the DGAC report, the Nutrition and Metabolism Society recently launched the Committee for a Healthy Nation (CHN), a working coalition of professionals who oppose the low-fat, plant-based thrust of the DGAC report. “We feel strongly that the scientific evidence omitted from or misrepresented by their report must be considered in the final outcome," Feinman said.

He challenged the DGAC panel to an open public debate on the scientific evidence underpinning the guidelines. "Our nation's citizens need a range of dietary options to choose from, not a one-size-fits-all approach. We must allow for lifestyle, activity levels and metabolism as factors in choosing an optimal diet for each individual,” he said.

Morton Satin of the Salt Institute criticized the committee’s recommendation to reduce sodium consumption to 1,500 mg per day. "The committee is suggesting that Americans consume less than 4 grams of salt per day. No modern society consumes so little salt, making this proposal nothing less than a call for an uncontrolled experiment on more than 300 million Americans,” he said, providing references showing the critical role of salt in digestion, blood pressure regulation and brain development.

The Nutrition and Metabolism Society, a group of nutrition researchers and medical professionals who have studied the benefits of a low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss, insulin regulation and protection against chronic disease, also criticized the proposed guidelines.

"I have followed the work of the DGAC all the way through this process as an academic project. I have dug into their nutrition evidence library,” said Adele Hite, a graduate student in nutrition and public health at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. “Time after time, the scientific evidence the DGAC cited to oppose low-carb diets actually says the exact opposite of the committee’s conclusions." Hite testified to losing 60 pounds on a low-carbohydrate diet.

The dietary guidelines, which are updated every five years and issued by USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services, are scheduled to be released by Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary Kathleen Sebelius jointly at the end of 2010.

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