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


How New Dietary Guidelines Report Align with Cancer-Protective Diet

New dietary guidelines may soon include increased emphasis on dietary patterns, fruits and vegetables while limiting added sugars, red meat and sugary beverages, if the recommendations released today from the Advisory Committee’s report are accepted.

The report is comprehensive — 571-pages long — and the American Institute for Cancer Research is cited throughout. You can read the highlights of how the report findings correspond with a cancer-protective diet in our press release.

Overall, the report aligns closely with AICR’s evidence-based Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, which focus on a plant-based diet. In the executive summary of the report:

The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.

The expert committee also reports on the importance of focusing on eating patterns and foods, as opposed to single nutrients or compounds. As the report states:

These dietary patterns can be achieved in many ways and should be tailored to the individual’s biological and medical needs as well as socio-cultural preferences.

Here at AICR, we have the New American Plate, a flexible way of eating that centers around plant foods. Two-thirds or more of your plate should have fruits, vegetables, whole grains or other plant foods; the rest of your plate has milk, meat, fish or other animal foods. The goal is to consume high amounts of healthful plant foods both for cancer prevention and health, but also to get to/stay a healthy weight.

Yesterday, we wrote about how the report is dropping the longstanding recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol. Here’s how that fits into a cancer-protective diet.

You can go here to download the report and/or the executive summary.

Next comes a public comment period, where there’s also a date for commenting in person. You can submit your comments through their site. And you can also tell us your thoughts about the report in the comments on the blog.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report is the scientific foundation for the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Released every 5 years, the guidelines become the basis for food, school and nutrition policy.