Media coverage of food and nutrition is often confusing and sometimes outright wrong. Eggs, cholesterol, fat and salt were bad for you; now we are told they can be a part of a balanced diet.
We at Sip & Savor have recently highlighted a Washington Post article about how some doctors believe that the current salt guidelines are simply wrong and that reducing salt consumption “might actually be dangerous.”
“The current [salt] guidelines are based on almost nothing,” former American Heart Association (AHA) President Suzanne Oparil told the Post. “Some people really want to hang onto this belief system on salt. But they are ignoring the evidence.”
Despite growing scientific evidence that low salt consumption can be harmful, preliminary guidelines proposed by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) in February suggested that the federal government maintain its previous recommendation. These same guidelines recommended avoiding “added sugars,” even though there is no difference metabolically between sugars intrinsic to a product or added to it.
Why would the DGAC continue to promote a recommendation that could potentially be wrong?
“If the evidence is conflicting, then the government ought to stay out of it and let Americans make choices freely, without government pushing us in any one direction,” says Carrie Luckas, managing director of the Independent Women's Forum, in her blog.
We agree. The previous DGAC got it wrong on cholesterol and fat. The current DGAC even stepped back on coffee – now saying an extra cup or two of coffee is OK. We’ve said it before, the science of nutrition is complex – you can’t simplify nutrition recommendations by singling out “good” and “bad” foods or ingredients. Instead, we have to consider the whole diet – balancing all of the calories we consume throughout the day with physical activity.