Lobbyists Move to Weaken the Dietary Guidelines; Help Us Protect Them

Food industry lobbyists are exerting pressure on Congress to weaken the soon-to-be-released 2015 USDA/HHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans. If they succeed, the Guidelines will put politics before sound science, and fail to provide useable guidance for Americans that could help prevent thousands of cancers every year.

ShowImage.ashxIn two new appropriations bills now under consideration by Congress, language has been added that would:

  1. Subject the Dietary Guidelines to an arbitrary standard of evidence that doesn’t align with accepted scientific practice observed by other government entities like the National Institutes of Health, the National Academy of Sciences, the Institutes of Medicine, as well as the World Health Organization.
  2. Not allow the Dietary Guidelines to make recommendations on issues closely related to food and nutrition. This would mean, for example, that the clear and convincing evidence about the impact of obesity and inactivity on cancer and other chronic diseases would not be considered.
  3. Prevent the Dietary Guidelines from:
    1. proposing public health ideas to help Americans decrease our national intake of sodium, saturated fat and added sugars
    2. encouraging Americans to increase our physical activity, and
    3. providing practical guidance to families about healthy eating and living

These changes would represent a huge step backward in national health policy, and – crucially, from AICR’s perspective – mean that much of the evidence showing how people can lower their cancer risk would be effectively ignored, including the latest AICR research on the clear and convincing link between obesity and ten of the most common forms of cancer. Continue reading


Speak Up Now: Voice Your Interests for the New Dietary Guidelines

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Me giving oral testimony. Click for full video.

Earlier this week, 70+ people – representing interests such as meat, dairy, public health, sugar, vegetarian, spices and sustainability – gathered at the National Institutes of Health to weigh in on what the 2015 Dietary Guidelines should say to Americans about a healthy diet.

I had the opportunity to represent AICR and speak up for guidance that will help Americans more easily make choices to lower their cancer risk. Everyone had 3 minutes to speak directly to experts from USDA and Health and Human Services who will be writing the 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans. You can watch the video here. The Dietary Guidelines (revised every 5 years) are key to how we move forward with dietary advice, and that also affects how food is produced and manufactured in the U.S. Continue reading


Added Sugars: Soda versus Food

Added sugar is making a lot of news lately. Last week, I wrote about the FDA’s proposed new Nutrition Facts label that would show how much sugar is added to foods. This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) released their new recommendation for an upper limit on how much added sugar we eat. They now say that no more than 5% of total daily calories should come from added sugars – about 100 calories, or 25 grams of sugar – for an adult.

Twenty-five grams of added sugar is not much. Check out the table below to see two ways you’d reach that daily limit – one way is pure sugar, another includes foods with cancer fighting compounds.

A sugary soda (8-ounces) vs. 4 delicious, healthful foods
Bottle of soda isolated on white background. Clipping Path
25 grams
=
Healthy breakfast
6 grams
Vanilla yogurt over strawberries banana and blueberries isolated on white.
11 grams
Raspberry jam dripping from a spoon isolated on white background
3 grams
Delicious chocolates closeup on white background
5 grams

Added sugar is a concern, especially in sugary beverages, because it contributes to overweight and obesity which is linked to 7 cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal and endometrial.

For those interested, WHO is accepting public comments on this recommendation.