The preponderance of science should drive dietary guidelines process

Published online: Feb 14, 2014
The Sugar Association called for dietary recommendations based on rigorous research rather than hypotheticals or opinions in comments delivered recently before the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
"The Association and its members share the Committee's concern about obesity and its detriment to long-term health, especially in children. We endorse rigorous scientific research, particularly randomized controlled trials, that provide the meaningful and unambiguous data required for dietary guidance," stated Charles Baker, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief science officer at The Sugar Association.
"Recommendations based on hypothetical eating patterns lack the scientific rigor necessary for realistic dietary guidance. In fact, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines acknowledged that such eating pattern constructs lack scientific testing," Baker told the Committee.
Baker noted that lumping distinctive caloric sweeteners together, one cornerstone of the eating patterns scheme, is misleading since biological dissimilarities are ignored.
Baker also cautioned that generalized assertions that sugar supplies calories with few or no nutrients disregard the body of scientific evidence that all natural sugar (sucrose) bestows the very palatability necessary for increased intakes of many healthy foods, especially by children. He cautioned that recommending overly restrictive limits has the real potential of decreasing the consumption of nutrient-rich foods and its unintended consequence of reducing the quality of the American diet.
"The Association respectfully asks that the 2015 Advisory Committee base its decisions on rigorous and unbiased research, and critically analyzed data, instead of the flood of hasty pronouncements of obesity-ending, silver bullets targeting sugar so common today," Baker said.
The Department of Health and Human Service and the United States Department of Agriculture will jointly publish the new guidelines in the fall of 2015.