In case you missed it – just last week the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece by Cheryl Achterberg about the release of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) report, which serves as a basis for government advice on what Americans should eat and drink.  Achterberg, a professor of nutrition and dean of the College of Education and Human Ecology at Ohio State University, served on the 2010 DGAC and believes the dietary guidelines aren’t working because they look nothing like how Americans really eat.

She points out that the committee identified healthy foods and good eating habits – and while their dietary recommendations may be well-intended, they ignore how Americans really eat and “what is achievable for working families under immense economic and time pressure.”

Further explaining that the “public has been bombarded by multiple, often conflicting, voices and messages,” Achterberg notes that each decade we are encouraged to believe something – or consume something – that is later retracted.

1970s: Americans were told to limit dietary cholesterol intake. 1980s: Americans were encouraged to make grain-based carbohydrates the foundation of their diets – until later told not to. 1990s: Americans were encouraged to stay away from eating any fat – until later told it was fine to consume. Americans have been told to drink coffee, then to not drink coffee, then to drink coffee, etc. 2015: Americans were informed that consumption of dietary cholesterol no longer needs to be limited.

While the DGAC’s strategy has simply been to “repeat the same messages, only louder and with more chastising,” and to label “good” foods and “bad” foods, Achterberg believes that this strategy will backfire.  Government guidelines must stop demonizing products that cause no harm when consumed in moderation – and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans need to “reflect the experience of how people really eat and what they can change versus how experts wish they would eat.”  She encourages that the guidelines instead “reinforce the tenets of sensible eating: balance, variety and moderation.”

We at Sip & Savor believe that all of the beverages our member companies make can be part of a balanced diet when consumed in moderation.  The calories these beverages contain are no different than the calories in any other food or beverage.  Balancing calories from all foods and beverages with physical activity supports a healthy and balanced lifestyle – and America’s beverage companies offer a wide range of choices and clear calorie information to help consumers choose the beverage that’s right for them and their families.  Rather than demonize a specific food item or food ingredient, the beverage industry encourages its customers, consumers and communities to focus on balance and moderation of all calories consumed.