Very exciting news this past week! The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND), formerly known as the American Dietetic Association, released surprising yet highly welcome comments regarding The DGA (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) Scientific Report, which include the following statements:
“The Academy supports the decision by the 2015 DGAC not to carry forward previous recommendations that cholesterol intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day, as ‘available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol.'”
Conclusion: No restriction on cholesterol
“In the spirit of the 2015 DGAC’s commendable revision of previous DGAC recommendations to limit dietary cholesterol, the Academy suggests that HHS and USDA support a similar revision deemphasizing saturated fat as a nutrient of concern.”
As a registered dietitian, I was well aware that I was taking a risk in speaking out against the AND’s recommendations. The topics I cover in this blog are certainly controversial, at least from the point of view of most dietitians and health care providers. However, I’ve worked hard to make sure that every blog post I write is balanced, well-referenced, and takes all of the available evidence into consideration. I also include a disclaimer on myAbout Me page that my advice may run counter to recommendations of major health organizations, including the AND — one that I may be able to remove in the near future.
Still, in the back of my mind, I’ve always worried about retaliation from dietitians who feel that I may be providing harmful advice to my clients and readers of my blog posts and articles. I know at least two dietitians in other countries are being threatened with discipline for making low-carbohydrate recommendations that include higher amounts of fat and saturated fat than their governing bodies deem healthy. Because these investigations are ongoing, I can’t provide specifics about either case at the moment but will definitely do so in the future. In addition, I’ve received several emails from other dietitians who want to discuss carbohydrate restriction with their overweight and diabetic patients yet feel they can’t because it’s not accepted practice at the facilities where they work. It’s extremely upsetting to me that those of us who give truly beneficial advice are often seen as “rogue” practitioners who reject “evidence-based” guidelines, and that we need to watch our backs.
I sincerely hope that dietetic associations around the world follow the AND’s lead in updating their recommendations given the totality of the evidence, rather than maintaining the status quo. Improving the nutritional health of all individuals should be the highest priority of these organizations, and if that means admitting their previous positions were wrong, they should step up to the plate and do so.