Health professionals have been warning us about the small group of food activists who have hijacked our federal nutritional advice panel to push their unscientific views on what we should eat and drink. Now comes a former member of the panel who warns that the group is playing politics with our health.

Cheryl Achterberg, dean of The Ohio State University, College of Education and Human Ecology, and a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, has expressed concern over the lack of science backing the recommendations by this year’s committee.

"What’s clear to many in the scientific community is that the dietary guidelines report is not ready for primetime. The process under which they were developed clearly needs enhancing to ensure that Americans are being provided the strongest, most accurate recommendations based on the most rigorous science available,” said Achterberg.

Achterberg says the committee continues to make recommendations based on inconclusive science that associates a food or drink with health consequences but fails to show that they actually cause any health issue. This is a mistake that the panel has made before, she points out.

“Founding our advice upon these kinds of studies has proven to be risky: the recent reversal on dietary cholesterol and new questioning about salt and saturated fats are prime examples of this.”

The final Dietary Guidelines will have an enormous impact on Americans nationwide and cannot be based on recommendations that have cherry-picked science. The committee, which has a responsibility to help improve public health, cannot continue to operate as the 2015 committee did.

"The future for nutrition scientists depends upon our being able to deliver advice that improves health," Achterberg concludes. "If that process is outdated or flawed, then we must improve it so that we can reinforce and restore a commitment to rigor needed in our field, regain the public trust, and most importantly, help the nation restore its health.”