Public comment, provided at Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Meeting 4, Day 2, Houston, TX – 3 minutes
Good afternoon. My name is Ted Eytan, MD. I am a family medicine specialist residing in Washington, DC. I am here on behalf of The Nutrition Coalition.
I have no ties to pharmaceutical, food, or device manufacturers. Freedom from conflict of interest matters.
It’s amazing to be here in 2020. I grew up with the first Dietary Guidelines, in Phoenix, Arizona. I remember how my family responded to the mass media messages and how dramatically the food environment changed.
For me, I was calorie restricting as early as age 12, unable to control my weight or appetite.
That’s not normal.
Kids, and indeed all of us, should feel satiated from eating a nutrient dense, minimally processed food diet. We should exist at a normal weight without much thought, and then lead long, productive, healthy lives.
It is now 2020, and when someone says they’re eating healthy, we don’t know what that means anymore.
It might seem that a group like ours wants one specific dietary pattern endorsed in the 2020 DGA.
This is not the case. Our goal is that nutrition policy be based on rigorous scientific evidence. We care that the recommendations that go out to all Americans be trustworthy, reliable, and up-to-date.
The process for reviewing the science needs to be based on an accepted, state-of-the art methodology (like GRADE or Cochrane).
With “grade-limited” evidence, it would be preferable to not issue a recommendation or issue a “weak” recommendation, which would allow health professionals to tailor their care needs of the people they serve. We only have to remember the reversals on dietary cholesterol and the low-fat diet to be reminded that caution is far better than overstepping what the science reliably tells us.
We applaud you for considering a greater range of dietary patterns as well as types of dietary fats in the topics and questions under review.
These include, importantly, the continued caps on saturated fats. These fats have been tested in rigorous clinical trials on tens of thousands of people—in studies funded by the NIH, yet no Dietary Guidelines committee has ever directly reviewed them. The trials are excluded from your review because they took place prior to 1990. 19 systematic reviews including these trials have been published since 2010. Please include this data in your review. This is “gold standard” data and it shouldn’t be ignored.
Yesterday we all saw the horrific data regarding the metabolic health of Americans.
Have you given up on the idea that DGA should REDUCE chronic illness instead of simply accepting its increased prevalence?
Quoting the 2015 Guideline:
“These Guidelines … embody the idea that a healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription, but rather, an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences” – from 2015-2020
This is what we need – a true range of dietary patterns based on rigorous, clinical-trial evidence. This would be a DGA we’d all be proud of.
We’re here to eliminate metabolic illness with you. Thank you.