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2010 Dietary Guidlines

I’ve spent about 3-4 hours going through the 2010 dietary guidelines, and didn’t learn anything new. Of course, I probably already know more than the average reader, given my research for “The Relativity Diet;” still, I was hoping for more. There has been much debate, and research these past five years (since the last round of recommendations in 2005). All of the pertinent links can be accessed here.

The guidelines are based on nearly two hundred questions from eight broad topics: Alcohol, Carbohydrates, Energy Balance and Weight Management, Fatty Acids and Cholesterol, Food Safety and Technology, Nutrient Adequacy, Protein, and Sodium, Potassium and Water.

I was most interested in the questions pertinent to low-carbohydrate diets.

Here are some of the conclusions, the validity of which I hold suspect:

“There is strong and consistent evidence that when calorie intake is controlled, macronutrient proportion of the diet is not related to losing weight.”

“A moderate body of evidence provides no data to suggest that any one macronutrient is more effective than any other for avoiding weight re-gain in weight reduced persons.”

“A moderate amount of evidence demonstrates that intake of dietary patterns with less than 45% calories from carbohydrate or more than 35% calories from protein are not more effective than other diets for weight loss or weight maintenance, are difficult to maintain over the long term, and may be less safe.”

In digging through the studies, and believe me, it was painful. I finally linked to the quoted studies, than accidently closed out the parent page and had no idea how I got there in the first place. One of the primary studies listed in support of the first conclusion listed above was of a cumbersome design that I described in my chapter on low-carbohydrate diets, with my impression being that it was almost designed to demonstrate the conclusions it drew.

The recommendations are not too dissimilar from 2005, and can be reviewed in the above link.

Eat less; low fat, whole grain, with half your plate holding fruits and vegetables, limit sodium intake to less than 2300mg/day, and so on. “Enjoy your food, but eat less,” and “avoid oversized portions.” Wow, that was almost worth the million dollars.

As I’ve said, there is plenty of debate regarding the macronutrient fractions of our diet, the exact role of high cholesterol (if any) in heart disease, and the sole emphasis on a caloric controlled, high-carbohydrate (65%) as the only way. I found the 2010 guidelines insipidly tedious, and as palatable as a bowl of cold Pablum. Instead of boldly going where no government agency has gone before, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has once again limped across their five-year finish line with a tired refrain based on political correctness and ideology.