Dietary committee lost in the weeds with new nutritional guidelines

Eighteen months in the making, the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee had plenty of surprises for everyone.

According to the panel of doctors and nutritionists who wrote the new guidelines, we are now allowed to consume carbohydrates and coffee with impunity, but should cut back sharply on red meat and sugar.

And if that’s not enough to wrap your fork around, the committee recommends that we refrain from consuming foods that cause harm to the environment.

The report read, “The environmental impact of food production is considerable and if natural resources such as land, water and energy are not conserved and managed optimally, they will be strained and potentially lost.

“Meeting current and future food needs will depend on two concurrent approaches: altering individual and population dietary choices and patterns and developing agricultural and production practices that reduce environmental impacts and conserve resources, while still meeting food and nutrition needs.”

I don’t know whether to laugh uncontrollably or eat the biggest ribeye steak I can get my hands on and down it with a big glass of sweet ice tea. What does a doctor know about sustainable agriculture? Where do nutritionists get off lecturing us about greenhouse gases? With its foray into sustainability, the committee not only veered off the main road, but crashed through the scrub and into the weeds.

Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation said the group’s conclusions “would have benefitted from the contributions of agronomists, animal scientists, ecologists and others with deeper expertise in agriculture and sustainability. We are troubled that it also repeats alarmist and unsubstantiated assertions about land use first promulgated by a UN agency with scant agricultural understanding. These assertions contradict the views of the UN’s own agricultural experts and fly in the face of decades of scientific consensus. The overall guidelines also ignore easier and more effective ways ordinary Americans can reduce their carbon footprints.”

National Center Senior Fellow and Risk Analysis Division Director Jeff Stier said, “The process leading to (the report) was heavily influenced by activists’ plans to change the nation’s dietary guidelines to promote foods that they believe have “a smaller carbon footprint.”

I do think the report is part of a troubling trend in America, where expertise in one discipline is magically transferred to another unrelated discipline, without the benefit of doubt.

We have Dr. Oz slandering biotechnology on his own television show, actors advising us to invest in silver, gold and reverse mortgages and now nutritionists and medical doctors assuming to know all there is to know about agronomy and climatology.

I’m surprised they didn’t include the slogan, “Think not what food can do for you, but what food can do for your carbon footprint.”

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