American Beverage Association

November 5, 2015

Here We Go Again…

The federal nutrition panel that is under fire for using personal opinions rather than science in its dietary recommendations is now being accused of going after energy drinks without basis.

Glenn Lammi, policy expert for the Washington Legal Foundation, says the 2015 report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) tries to push false notions onto the public, similar to when government nutrition experts wrongly demonized eggs, butter and fat.

“The report indicated that 3-5 cups of coffee per day has neutral-to-positive health effects, while ’excessive’ caffeine consumption (more than 400 milligrams per day for adults) may cause adverse health effects,” stated Lammi in The Legal Pulse.

“The report then leaps from that general conclusion to a narrow focus on ’high-dose’ energy drinks. Even though the average energy drink has the same amount of caffeine as a cup of home-brewed coffee (80 mg), even though all caffeine is chemically identical, the report intimates that consumers should avoid such beverages.”

Lammi points out that scientific research as well as regulatory agencies around the globe has established that energy drinks are safe, but the DGAC recommendations ignore this fact.

“Food-safety officials in Europe, whose scientific determinations are often driven by precaution, examined the prevailing science on caffeine and still concluded earlier this year that 400 mg per day is safe, regardless of the source,” he said.

Lammi added: “To reach a lethal dose of caffeine, the average 195-pound U.S. male would need to consume 81 cups of 8-ounce brewed coffee or the same volume of energy drinks.”

This is not the first time the federal government’s dietary advice has been wrongheaded. One of the biggest and most widely reported blunders was the government telling people to avoid foods containing cholesterol like eggs, saturated fats and meat. The DGAC acknowledged that the evidence did not exist connecting cholesterol in foods to cholesterol levels in the blood. The warnings were criticized when they were put in place, but that criticism from scientists was ignored.

Americans rely upon the DGAC to sift through the totality of reliable science to determine nutrition advice. That advice is acted upon by nutrition programs across the United States. Therefore, the federal government has a responsibility to put personal agendas aside and get it right.


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