The Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee (DGAC) has changed its recommendations for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ dietary guidelines, which are used to create menus for schools and public food services and to outline food assistance programs like WIC and SNAP.
The Committee seeks to heavily restrict the amount of added sugar Americans use on a daily basis, along with some other changes:
• The guidelines recommend no more than 12 teaspoons of added sugar per day. Currently the average American consumes between 22-30 teaspoons.
• Sugary drinks and sodas will no longer be available in schools. A tax may be imposed on these products.
• Nutritional labels will now be required to have a line clearly defining the amount of added sugar. Labels may be moved to the front of packaging.
• SNAP and WIC policies may restrict people from buying “unhealthy” foods.
Previous guidelines have failed consumers by doing nothing for the population’s obesity and sickness rates. The guidelines – new and old — have been met with skepticism from contradicting research:
• When the guidelines were first issued in 1980, they encouraged Americans to cut back on fats. Trying to restrict fats led to the creation of highly processed foods, a staple of the American diet that is packed with sugars and stripped of fats. Last fall, the committee admitted that it is no longer following this restriction.
• The long-standing cholesterol-intake restrictions told Americans to stay away from foods with high dietary cholesterol, like egg yolks and shellfish. The claims that these foods drastically raise blood cholesterol have been debunked, and the committee finally acknowledged that by removing the restrictions.
• In 2013, an Institute of Medicine Study contraindicated the guideline’s sodium restrictions. The study initially found that lowering dietary salt intake too much may actually lead to adverse health effects.
• Several studies have found that saturated fats may not be directly linked to heart disease, and that replacing saturated fats with polyunsaturated fats could exacerbate blood cholesterol problems and cause inflammation.
Diet is not the only element that can influence heart heath: check out Broken Heart Syndrome Leads to Increased Risk of Cardiovascular/Other Illnesses