The purpose of the dietary guidelines established for Americans was to improve nutrition, and, as a result, public health—but in the last three decades, that has certainly not been the case. Since the guidelines were first released in 1980, adult obesity rates have doubled, and they are predicted to increase by another 50% by 2030. Childhood obesity and diabetes diagnoses have tripled. Two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight, one-third is obese and roughly 25 million have diabetes. More and more researchers are concluding that these guidelines are based on flawed and inconclusive science, most recently in an article published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, which says the conclusions drawn by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) are based on “fatally flawed assumptions about unusable data.” Based on this, there has been a public outcry and Congress has expressed concerns.
How did this happen? Well, Americans actually followed the guidelines. We started consuming less protein and fat, and instead replaced those calories with carbohydrates. So it’s not a stretch to say that excess consumption of carbohydrates has been the primary cause of our health woes (obesity, diabetes and more).
What is the solution? If the majority of us consume too many carbohydrates, it would make sense to suggest we consume less. But that would mean the DGAC would have to admit that the guidelines they have been recommending for the last 30 years were wrong…
And the reality is that one-size-fits-all diet recommendations are outdated. We would be better served by guidelines that fit different lifestyles and goals, based on scientifically valid research and well-conducted studies. Think about it… does an athlete have the same dietary needs as someone who is pre-diabetic or obese? Does a 20-year-old have the same dietary needs as an 80-year-old? It’s time to take all these factors into account.