It’s still 2012, but believe it or not planning is already underway for the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015. Yep, it’s here! The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) are now soliciting nominations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) and I think this is our opportunity to put forth the names of some quality scientists who understand the research behind the therapeutic use of carbohydrate-restriction for health and weight management.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are released every five years with “nutrition and dietary information for the general public” to become the official food and nutrition policies promoted by our government and parroted by health and medical organizations like the American Heart Association, American Medical Association and the American Diabetes Association. As such, they are looking to find qualified people to serve on the DGAC to provide “the preponderance of scientific and medical knowledge which is current at the time.” This prestigious panel of “experts in nutrition and health” will take on the task of giving their input on the Dietary Guidelines “based on a thorough evaluation of recent scientific and applied literature.”
Creation of the 2015 DGAC is described as both “necessary and in the public interest” and yet that hasn’t always included ALL of the American public based on the composition of the 2010 DGAC. In May 2008, I put forth several nominations of scientists and practitioners who understand the science behind low-carb diets, but the final composition of the 2010 DGAC did not include one single low-carb research representative. However, 9 of the 13 members were from The American Society for Nutrition (ASN) that heavily promotes the high-carb, low-fat diet dogma. This was reflected in the final version of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines that totally ignored the low-carb research. In fact, a group of concerned nutrition scientists published a review article entitled “In the face of contradictory evidence: Report of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee” in the October 2010 issue of the journal Nutrition to express their concerns over the obvious bias shown against low-carb diets despite the overwhelming evidence supporting them (watch the reaction from members of the low-carb community to these guidelines). It’s one of the reasons why the Healthy Nation Coalition was created following the release of those atrocious 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
This is utterly disgraceful in light of USDA’s stated commitment to examining the totality of the nutritional science and not just one side of the issue. In an ideal world, there would be a couple of representatives each for low-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean, vegan, Paleo, etc. Then every side of the various issues could be hashed out according to what the latest science says and we’d have a more accurate (and likely more helpful!) set of nutritional guidelines with a variety of options for people to choose from as I shared in my testimony at the USDA in Washington, DC regarding the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. What we have now is a monopolistic dictatorship that thumbs their nose at anything other than the high-carb, low-fat dogma that has dominated nutritional policy for over three decades!
With the 2015 DGAC set to begin meeting in April 2013 to “develop a report of its recommendations that will be presented to the Secretaries of HHS and USDA,” nominations are currently underway to fill the 17-member panel. The primary qualifications for inclusion on this panel is that the participant “be knowledgeable of current scientific research in human nutrition and chronic disease and be respected and published experts in their fields.” Additionally, they should also “be familiar with the purpose, communication, and application of the Guidelines and have demonstrated interest in the public’s health and well-being through research and/or educational endeavors.” Expertise is requested in several specialty areas of interest, including cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, cancer, pediatrics, gerontology, maternal nutrition, epidemiology, general medicine, energy balance, nutrient bioavailability, nutrition biochemistry and physiology, food processing science, public health, nutrition education and behavior change and/or nutrition-related systematic review methodology. Those with multiple areas of expertise are a plus.
Nominations of individuals with these qualifications can be submitted by the individuals themselves or from third-party nominators (people like you and me) for consideration of appointment to the 2015 DGAC. When making your nominations, it should include:
The USDA says it will make “every effort…to ensure that the Committee is a diverse group of individuals” who will “represent balanced viewpoints of the scientific evidence, not to represent the viewpoints of any specific group.” Well, that’s not been the case in the past. Most of the previous members of the DGAC have been overwhelmingly pro high-carb, low-fat with ZERO representation of the science behind low-carb diets. Even 2010 DGAC committee member Joanne Slavin noted in a lecture that “there is no scientific basis for the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.” I’m hopeful the propaganda that has dominated previous versions of the Dietary Guidelines will be different this time around…although I’m not holding my breath.
Nominations will be accepted starting right now through Monday, November 26, 2012 at 6:00PM ET. You have THREE ways to submit your nominations:
1. E-mail DG2015Nominations@hhs.gov
2. Send a fax to (240) 453-8281
3. Mail to:
Dr. Richard D. Olson
2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
1101 Wootton Parkway, Suite LL100 Tower Building
Rockville, MD 20852
Because of the nomination requirements that the nominee provide a statement that they’d be interested in serving, I’m going to provide a list of 10 potential names for you to contact directly about serving on the 2015 DGAC along with their e-mail address. Feel free to choose anyone you’d like who may or may not be not listed here. But these are people who have the credentials they’re looking for with published research, accessibility to be reached rather easily online and the likely willingness to serve in such a capacity:
Let’s make our voice count and get at least ONE of these names on that 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee! Let me know in the comments section if you nominate anyone specific who is willing to serve. Let’s rally behind those who would take on this ambitious but critical challenge to make an impact on future government nutritional guidelines.