I think that the four words ‘I told you so’ should only be thought, and never written down. No-one likes a smart arse. But sometimes it is impossible to resist….just impossible. In this case I have failed. ‘Father forgive me, for I am weak.’ So, here goes…’I told you so.’
Some of you may be aware that the US dietary guidelines are going to be changed. For some reason it is required that the full report is suppressed for about a year. Presumably so that everyone can pile high their defences when the attacks begin. ‘I think you will find that I have always, ahem, supported these ideas.’ Cough, shuffle of papers….cough. ‘Sorry, no time to take questions.’ Exit left.
The entire report, I believe, stretches to about a bazillion pages. However, here are four of the highlights.
- Cholesterol is to be dropped from the ‘nutrients of concern’ list. [I love that phrase ‘nutrient of concern’].
- Saturated fat will be… ‘de-emphasized’ from nutrients of concern, given the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease.’ [Whatever de-emphasizing may be. Pretending you never said it in the first place, I suppose].
- There is concern over blanket sodium restriction given the… ‘growing body of research suggesting that the low sodium intake levels recommended by the DGAC (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) are actually associated with increased mortality for healthy individuals.’
- And…’ The identification and recognition of the specific health risks posed by added sugars represents an important step forward for public health.’
In short. Cholesterol is healthy, saturated fat is healthy, salt is healthy and sugar is unhealthy. I have pulled those four points out of a press release by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which I reproduce in full, below.
Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Commends Strong, Evidence-Based Dietary Guidelines Report
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the world’s largest organization of food and nutrition professionals, commends the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee for drafting a strong, evidence-based Scientific Report outlining recommendations and rational for the forthcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Academy supports these recommendations that will improve how and what Americans eat.
“The Academy applauds the evidence-based systematic review of the literature, which is vital to the DGAC’s assessment of the science,” said registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy President Sonja L. Connor. “We commend the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture for their commitment to the Nutrition Evidence Library and their ongoing efforts to strengthen the evidence-based approach for assessing the scientific literature for future dietary recommendations.”
In comments recently submitted to USDA and HHS, the Academy supports the DGAC in its decision to drop dietary cholesterol from the nutrients of concern list and recommends it deemphasize saturated fat from nutrients of concern, given the lack of evidence connecting it with cardiovascular disease.
“Despite some criticism suggesting that changed recommendations illustrate concerns about the validity of the nutrition science upon which the Dietary Guidelines are based, the DGAC should change its recommendations to be consistent with the best available science and to abide by its statutory mandate,” Connor said.
The Academy also expresses concern over blanket sodium restriction recommendations in light of recent evidence of potential harm to the overall population. “There is a distinct and growing lack of scientific consensus on making a single sodium consumption recommendation for all Americans, owing to a growing body of research suggesting that the low sodium intake levels recommended by the DGAC are actually associated with increased mortality for healthy individuals,” Connor said.
The Academy supports an increased focus on reduction of added sugars as a key public health concern. “Among the identified cross-cutting issues, the evidence is strongest that a reduction in the intake of added sugars will improve the health of the American public. The identification and recognition of the specific health risks posed by added sugars represents an important step forward for public health,” Connor said.
In its comments, Academy also emphasizes that enhanced nutrition education is imperative to any effective implementation. “It is critical to ensure that individuals making diet and behavior changes in accordance with the Dietary Guidelines have access to the resources and support necessary to succeed. HHS and USDA must have sufficient resources to commit to improving a number of initiatives,” Connor said.
“The Academy appreciates the opportunity to comment on the Scientific Report and to serve as a resource to HHS and USDA as they finalize the 2015 Dietary Guidelines and develop resources to implement and promote their use,” Connor said.1
In one way, I commend this press release. At least it has made no real attempt to fudge what is now going to be said. These are the facts.
But you know what. Organisations like this have been haranguing the entire population of the world about the dangers of cholesterol, saturated fat, and salt for the last thirty years. Foodstuffs which they now seem happy to admit, cause no harm, indeed they are almost certainly good for you.
At the same time, they have bombarded us with messages to consume sugar(s). They usually call them carbohydrates, which is disingenuous in the extreme. Carbohydrates are all just sugars in disguise. A disguise that the digestive system can strip off in a few minutes.
Yes, all those healthy fruit and vegetables are simply extended chains of simple sugar(s). And once they enter your digestive system, your body cares not whether or not you ate a carrot or a sugar cube. It delivers them into your bloodstream as sugar [primarily glucose and fructose].
Now there have been a number of people, including me, who have been saying for years that cholesterol and saturated fat are perfectly healthy, salt is good for you and sugar (in large amounts) is bad. We have all been dismissed as cranks and idiots who would have caused the deaths of thousands of people, if they had ever dared to listen to what we had to say.
It turns out the cranks and the mavericks were right. The experts were wrong. Completely and utterly wrong. Damagingly wrong. Whilst the words ‘I told you so’ are temptingly easy to say; and saying them should be resisted. There is another, single word, that appears impossible to say.