More than 50 doctors across the United States have signed an open letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) calling on the agency to overhaul the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and ensure that recommendations are for all Americans. The letter ran in both the New York Times and Washington Post on July 9.
Currently, the advisory committee is reviewing the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines to begin shaping their recommendations for the USDA and Health and Human Services to consider. The guidelines are focused on the healthy population, but, according to the doctors, only 12% of the population is metabolically healthy.
Spearheaded by Atkins Nutritionals, a subsidiary of The Simply Good Foods Co., the letter highlights that 72% of Americans have a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight or obese range and 52% have either diabetes or prediabetes. In addition, it highlights that more than 20% of all healthcare spending in the United States is on obesity-related illness.
“We believe that it is critical for the U.S. government to overhaul the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and provide nutrition guidance that uses today’s science and promotes healthier eating habits, recognizing a low-carbohydrate eating approach as a viable option for people. Doing this can improve our nation’s health and reduce medical costs,” said Joseph E. Scalzo, president and CEO, The Simply Good Foods Co. “The Dietary Guidelines have unfortunately taken America down the path of overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugar, resulting in less healthy citizens."
The letter references the National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine’s (NASEM) consensus study that recommended that the Dietary Guidelines address the needs of all Americans, cautioning against a one-size fits all approach. Also highlighted within the letter is the American Diabetes Association’s recent recommendation that in addition to other eating approaches, a low carbohydrate eating approach can help manage diabetes. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines specifically warn against a low-carbohydrate diet.