Every five years, the government issues the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are based on the prevailing body of nutrition science. These guidelines have a big impact on the nutrition choices that Americans — and people across the world — make.
Recently, however, these guidelines have come under fire.
The government relies on expert advice to determine their dietary guidelines, but many scientists and health and nutrition professionals complain that this expert advice fails to take into account the most current scientific evidence.
So why do the government’s dietary guidelines matter? And what are Dr. Dirk’s recommendations for eating a nutritious diet? Here’s what you need to know.
Why are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans important?
Since they were first issued in 1980, the goal of the government’s dietary guidelines has been to help Americans make healthy food and beverage choices, as well as to serve as a foundation for nutrition policies and programs that federal, state and local governments administer.
The guidelines also have a direct impact on the nutritional choices Americans make. Consider the famous food pyramid. Many Americans still make health choices based on the recommendations made by the pyramid, even though those recommendations are no longer current.
In addition, the guidelines affect nutrition education, food labeling, research priorities at the National Institutes of Health and public feeding programs, which one-quarter of Americans rely on.
The guidelines’ impact even extends beyond American shores by driving global nutrition policy, since many Western nations adopt similar advice.
How are the dietary guidelines determined?
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are based on an expert report produced by an advisory committee. The committee is composed of 11 to 15 experts who review the most current science to make nutrition recommendations that promote health and fight disease.
After the advisory committee submits the report, the government’s health and agriculture agencies review the report and issue final guidelines.
Why do the guidelines fail to reflect current science?
Since 1980, the guideline process has been most susceptible to the outside interests of food manufacturers, food producers and special interest groups.
Because the guidelines have a major impact on the diet choices Americans make, lobbyists for the food industry work hard to promote guidelines that can benefit their bottom line.
According to Dr. Walter Willett, chair of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, “The current system opens the guidelines up to lobbying and manipulation of data.”
While many doctors and scientists applauded some of the new guidelines for 2015, such as the recommendation to eat less added sugar, other guidelines failed to reflect the most current science.
How does Dr. Dirk view the dietary guidelines?
Like many other experts, Dr. Dirk has objections to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
According to Dr. Dirk, “The problem with the U.S. dietary guidelines is that they are built on bad science. It is very clear from current science that a lot of what we were taught about things like low-fat diets and red meat is not true.”
The dietary guidelines are particularly unhelpful for overweight and obese individuals. Not only does Dr. Dirk believe the guidelines are complicated and vague, but he and other Dallas bariatric surgeons also agree that the guidelines aren’t helpful for bariatric patients trying to lose weight.
What are Dr. Dirk’s dietary recommendations?
“Over the last 10 years, there has been significant research showing that a nutrition plan high in protein and low in carbohydrates is both safe and effective for losing weight,” says Dr. Dirk.
Dr. Dirk’s regimen focuses on a number of small high-protein, low-carb meals throughout the day. This regimen helps overweight and obese individuals lose weight and quickly heal from bariatric procedures.
Unlike the U.S. dietary guidelines, which fail to reflect the best science and which are not tailored to overweight and obese individuals, Dr. Dirk’s bariatric programs are scientifically sound and specific to the needs of his patients.
To learn more about Dr. Dirk’s nutrition recommendations, set up a consultation today.