“The Academy applauds the evidence-based systematic review of the literature, which is vital to the DGAC’s assessment of the science,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Sonja L. Connor. “We commend the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture for their commitment to the Nutrition Evidence Library and their ongoing efforts to strengthen the evidence-based approach for assessing the scientific literature for future dietary recommendations.”
In comments recently submitted to USDA and HHS, the Academy supports the DGAC in its decision to drop dietary cholesterol from the nutrients of concern list and recommends it deemphasize saturated fat from nutrients of concern, given the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease.
“Despite some criticism suggesting that changed recommendations illustrate concerns about the validity of the nutrition science upon which the Dietary Guidelines are based, the DGAC should change its recommendations to be consistent with the best available science and to abide by its statutory mandate,” Connor said.
The Academy also expresses concern over blanket sodium restriction recommendations in light of recent evidence of potential harm to the overall population. “There is a distinct and growing lack of scientific consensus on making a single sodium consumption recommendation for all Americans, owing to a growing body of research suggesting that the low sodium intake levels recommended by the DGAC are actually associated with increased mortality for healthy individuals,” Connor said.
The Academy supports an increased focus on reduction of added sugars as a key public health concern. “Among the identified cross-cutting issues, the evidence is strongest that a reduction in the intake of added sugars will improve the health of the American public. The identification and recognition of the specific health risks posed by added sugars represents an important step forward for public health,” Connor said.
In its comments, Academy also emphasizes that enhanced nutrition education is imperative to any effective implementation. “It is critical to ensure that individuals making diet and behavior changes in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines have access to the resources and support necessary to succeed. HHS and USDA must have sufficient resources to commit to improving a number of initiatives,” Connor said.
“The Academy appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Scientific Report and to serve as a resource to HHS and USDA as they finalize the 2015 Dietary Guidelines and develop resources to implement and promote their use,” Connor said.
The final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are expected to be released at the end of this year.