The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has a responsibility to deliver clear information to the general public about nutrition. Unfortunately, this year’s Committee veered away from its duties by providing recommendations that overstepped its boundaries.
How? As former DGAC member Roger Clemens writes, “2015 DGAC recommendations fall short and offer up complicated and perplexing policy recommendations such as taxes or bans on certain foods and beverages…which do little to inform general consumers on how to create better diets.”
Clemens explains that the main reason that these recommendations are confusing is because the majority of them are not based in science. He mentions that in previous years the committee has relied on the Nutrition Evidence Library (NEL), which is known for its rigorous and transparent research, to guide its recommendations. But the 2015 Committee did not follow this process.
“It was disappointing to see the 2015 DGAC use the NEL to address only 27 percent of its science-based research questions,” he says.
Clemens continues: “From that perspective, it’s no wonder the 2015 report is being held to a new level of scrutiny from the public, Congress, and many within the scientific community.”
Why would the Committee blatantly neglect the enormous amount of scientific data available to them? There isn’t a good reason.
It is the responsibility of the Committee to provide clear and easy-to-understand information that Americans can follow in their everyday lives - not advance a personal agenda against things the Committee members don’t like. As the United States Department of Agriculture develops the official guidelines this year, we hope the agency takes a hard look at the science that the DGAC failed to review.