Scientists and past U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committees (DGACs) have said for years that fat, cholesterol and salt were bad for you and that skipping breakfast can make you gain weight.
But recent science has called into question the government’s recommendation on breakfast, fat, salt and cholesterol-laden foods. Even the DGAC had admitted that there was never good science behind the claim that cholesterol in foods had an effect on cholesterol in the bloodstream.
Where did the previous DGACs go wrong? Why did they make recommendations that were not based on solid scientific evidence?
In an article in The San Diego Union-Tribune, Bradley J. Fikes says reliance on lower quality research is leading the DGAC to make fundamental flaws in conclusions about nutrients.
“Rigorous, controlled clinical trials are overlooked in favor of weaker evidence from observational studies from nutrition epidemiology. This can determine correlation, but not causation. Confusing the two is an elementary scientific error,” writes Fikes.
We at Sip & Savor often blog on the importance of basing all dietary recommendations – especially the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) - on the totality of scientific evidence and to not ignore findings from randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
Why are RCTs important?
"They're considered the gold standard of evidence. That's the only way to firmly establish causation," Nina Teicholz, investigative reporter and author of "The Big Fat Surprise, Why Butter, Meat and Cheese Belong in a Healthy Diet" told The San Diego Union-Tribune.
If RCTs are considered the “gold standard” in scientific evidence why did the previous DGACs overlook them?
Remember, the DGAs are considered the authority on diet in the U.S. and influence government-subsidized dietary programs such as school lunches and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). That is why it is alarming that previous DGACs based their recommendations on less rigorous research methods. We believe the DGAs should always be based on the best science available and provide recommendations that can be achievable in the real world for the majority of Americans.