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New Dietary Guidelines: sugar cap, but not enough new

PHOTO: The revised Dietary Guidelines do recommend men and teen boys limit their intake of red meat. | FILE PHOTO

The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans are out today, and I’ll probably have more to say on them next week, but for now know that — despite the hype — they really haven’t changed all that much.

Read about them in this New York Times article by Anahad O’Connor here.

Yes, there’s now a limit on sugar, which is a good start. As the Times article points out, this probably will mean a line denoting added sugars will be popping up on nutritional labels. Once that happens, trust me, you will be shocked at how much sugar is in packaged and prepared foods.

Still, as I’ve said before, the guidelines don’t go as far as the World Health Organization; it calls for a limit of what’s about the equivalent of 6 teaspoons a day. The revised Dietary Guidelines are letting Americans have 12. (Line up 12 teaspoons on your counter and ask yourself if that’s enough of a limit for you and your family.)

The new Guidelines finally give up on urging limiting dietary cholesterol in one breath, but in the next, as the Times article notes, they also say, “eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.” Boy, that’s taking a strong stand, right?

The Guidelines continue to call for tight limits on red meat, this time particularly for men and boys, according to the Times article. That really bothers me. There has been so much written in the last decade about how the traditional advice on red meat and saturated fat is just, well, plain wrong and based on weak science.

I’m not the only one disappointed. In a statement released by the Nutrition Coalition, Nina Teicholz (author of “The Big Fat Surprise” and part of the Coalition’s governing board) reminds us all, “With the exception of a cap on sugar, these DGAs are virtually identical to those of the past 35 years, during which time obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed.”

So basically, we’re doing the same thing as we have been, except for cutting back a little on sugar. Despite the fact that two-thirds of Americans are either overweight or obese.

Doesn’t seem very wise now, does it?