The Family Health Guide

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines

When the federal government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines finally came out at the end of January 2011, there was more praise for their dos than their don'ts. Some consumer groups and nutrition experts commended the emphasis on combating obesity, controlling calorie intake, and eating fresh fruit and vegetables. But Walter Willett, chair of the Harvard School of Public Health's nutrition department, says the guidelines would be more effective if the message to Americans were more specific—eat less red meat, cheese, ice cream, white rice and white bread—and less abstract, specifically urging people to stay away from added sugar and solid fat

One problem that has occurred in the past is that the guidelines, which are written by government officials, have deviated significantly from the recommendations of the scientific advisory committees charged with collecting and analyzing the evidence upon which the guidelines are supposed to be based. The disconnect reflects the influence of powerful agricultural and food industry interests.

Here are a couple of key areas where the final version parted company with the recommendations of the scientific committee.

To continue reading this article, you must login.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »