Follow the science, at least on nutrition 

If our government can’t even get the nutrition guidelines correct, why should we believe their foolish utterances about climate?

Note: If you know someone of child-bearing age, please tell them about an infant’s need for the choline found in eggs, which appears to improve cognitive development that begins during infancy and lasts into school-age years.


“Follow the science” is supposedly the guiding mantra for federal actions. But it is too often ignored – even on nutrition guidelines, it turns out,” writes Paul Driessen. “It’s recently been discovered that the 2020 and earlier Dietary Guidelines for Americans (the official government recommendations for a healthy diet) were based on outdated data.

“From my perch, the last thing we need is more sloppy and politicized science, and more policies, laws and regulations dictated by “woke” or “cancel culture” agendas that censor certain news and put our well-being way down on the list of government priorities.”


Follow the science, at least on nutrition 

Even if we hew to politicized science on Covid and climate, can’t we do real science on food?

Paul Driessen

If we’ve learned anything from the Covid-19 pandemic, it’s the importance of solid, up-to-date scientific information – and the regulatory flexibility necessary to respond quickly to new information. At least with some aspects of Covid prevention and treatment, “follow the science” became the guiding mantra, as sustained inquiry into the corona virus progressed at warp-speed, leading to scientific breakthroughs and three vaccines in only months, rather than the normal years or even decades.

However, related research also confirmed the truth that a healthy diet is key to preventing, managing and recovering from Covid-19 (and other diseases).

That’s why it’s surprising, and exasperating, that many suggestions in the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – the official government recommendations for a healthy diet – are based on outdated data. Rather than following the science, they have too often lagged behind recent findings or been subjected to apparently politicized science. That needs to change.

Dietary Guidelines are more than advice on how to eat. They form the basis of federal food policies and programs, nutrition education, and various public and private disease prevention initiatives. Formulated in consultation with the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, the Guidelines serve as a reference tool, influence what’s on food labels, and dictate what foods are allowed in school lunch programs.

Just as important, health-care professionals and policy makers determine nutritional recommendations for especially vulnerable groups – such as pregnant women, young children and adolescents. All these people depend on (and assume there is) sound science behind the Guidelines.

Given the link between nutrition and health, one would think the congressionally required dietary Guidelines would be of high scholarly quality, accurate and scientifically up-to-date, particularly since they are published just once every five years. Indeed, the statute that mandates publication specifically requires that they be based on “the preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge.”

Unfortunately, updates that include Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) values for various nutrients receive less attention.

Part of the science behind the guidelines is Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) that tell us how much of any given nutrient a healthy person needs, from macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) to vitamins and minerals. Surprisingly, except for sodium and potassium, none of the DRIs have been updated in the last ten years; others, like magnesium and vitamin C, have had no updates since the 1990s. (Potassium, for example, is vital for heart and other muscle health, but found only in a few foods.)

So, on closer look, the “new” 2020 dietary guidelines turn out to be the fifth consecutive congressionally-mandated iteration of old, often outdated science, just packaged in a new cover. Not surprisingly, the 2020 Advisory Committee recommended urgent extensive updates to existing DRIs, for most nutrients, for all age and sex groups and life stages, to better characterize potential risks of dietary inadequacy and excess.

If these official dietary recommendations are to mean anything, the underlying science must be current and the DRIs must be updated – right now, and more regularly in the future.

The 2020 Advisory Committee report on that point is clear: “The DRIs are essential resources for evaluating the nutritional quality of current dietary patterns for the American public, and the Committee has identified where updates are needed for the DRIs to be relevant in the Dietary Guidelines process.”

That’s why it should have been big news when former Deputy Undersecretary of Agriculture for Food Nutrition and Consumer Services Brandon Lipps’ team secured DRI research funding before leaving office. For some reason, though, there was hardly any media coverage.

Instead, ahead of the 2020 Guidelines’ publication, misguided news reports announced an expected reduction in RDAs for alcoholic drinks and added sugars – in the midst of the Covid lockdowns, when millions of Americans were increasing their intakes, as a way to cope with their isolation and boredom. But without new studies to justify them, USDA and HHS made no changes to the 2015 recommendations.

By contrast, a big change that was introduced in the 2020 Guidelines involved recommendations for young infants from birth to two years of age. For example, they suggested that babies and toddlers shouldn’t have any sweets in their first 24 months, even though there is no new science to support that new guideline. Making that change even more troubling, the very young are probably more vulnerable to the effects of using outdated DRIs than any other age group.

In another example, it’s been a long time since the last DRI update for choline, a nutrient that particularly affects infants. Certain animal source foods – such as eggs – provide sufficient amounts of choline, which appears to improve cognitive development that begins during infancy and lasts into school-age years.

Researchers at Cornell University recently discovered that women who consume twice the recommended intake of choline during their third trimester of pregnancy – a time of rapid brain development – deliver lasting neuro-protective benefits to their babies. Enhanced cognitive effects observed in the children (increased attention, memory and problem-solving skills) were still maintained at age seven.

Surprisingly though, since choline was first granted a DRI in 1998, the DRI for infants across all domestic food policy has not been based on even one actual clinical trial. It’s been based on the average level of choline in breast milk. That certainly appears to make the choline-intake recommendation entirely random and inadequate, and a special concern with regard to parents who follow vegan diets

DRIs have to be kept up-to-date, and ongoing, relevant research on any nutrition-health nexus must be incorporated into them.

In yet another example, the Guidelines also mention tooth cavities as a significant diet-related chronic disease.  And yet the Guidelines ignore the large body of evidence showing the role that chewing sugar-free gum can play in improving oral health by increasing saliva production and discouraging snacking.

In fact, the Guidelines almost entirely overlooked the importance of oral health to overall health, even though wider health benefits linked to a healthy oral biome include the prevention of heart disease, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure), periodontitis (a serious gum infection that can destroy gums and even jawbones) and diabetes.

Chewing sugar-free gum has been associated with faster post-cesarean recovery. Researchers have even suggested a link between oral health and Covid: coronavirus may spread into the bloodstream through infected gums, causing a more severe disease in people with poor oral hygiene.

To restate the obvious, if the government is going to publish Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years, agencies need to follow the science. Rather than regurgitating and reprinting old information, and expecting us to follow it on faith, these highly influential Guidelines need to be based on current scientific knowledge. Our health and the health of our children are too important for anything less.

Whether it’s nutrition, Covid or climate change, the last thing we need is more sloppy politicized science, and more policies, laws and regulations dictated by “woke” or “cancel culture” agendas that censor certain news and put our well-being way down on the list of government priorities.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow ( and author of books and articles on energy, environment, climate, health and human rights issues.

18 thoughts on “Follow the science, at least on nutrition ”

  1. Bad teeth – like cancer survivors (me) and others who have suffered from Sepsis and high amounts of Antibiotics all cause tooth DESTRUCTION. Got bad teeth? Get rid of them NOW! You will feel better. AND get Implants so you can eat properly.

  2. Your faith in vaccines for covid-19 is misplaced badly. They would not even be needed had Ivermectin & HCQ been deployed widely in the spring/summer of 2020. Instead they let people die for 8-10 months waiting on the vaccines that are vastly less safe, vastly less effective, vastly more expensive and don’t work against the variants. Ivermectin wins hands down on all 4 categories.

    As for diet I’ve been on Dr Sears “Zone Diet” for 15+ years now with great results. Never hungry, lean body mass and great blood test results.

  3. We are convinced that the focus on low fat diets and paranoia over cholesterol and widespread use of cholesterol drugs led to our folks cognitive diseases. It turns out, the brain and nervous system are primarily composed of fat, and it is essential to the nervous system! Of course now with the widespread use of GMO’s and glyphosate, much of what we eat is a ticking time bomb for a future chronic health problem … roughly 2/3 of Americans already suffer from one or more chronic health issue!

  4. The hell with our government! Do you believe anything the government tells you? NO I do not.

    The last time I listened to them was when Reagan was in office.

  5. And yet the Guidelines ignore the large body of evidence showing the role that chewing sugar-free gum can play in improving oral health by increasing saliva production and discouraging snacking.

    Gum is typically the most toxic product in supermarkets that is intended for internal use. Commercial gum products contain roughly the same list of toxic ingredients, with differing labelling, which is virtually always designed to mislead.

    Why a Stick of Chewing Gum is More Harmful To Your Health Than Anything You Eat

    Most people don’t realize that the amount of digestive enzymes your body can produce in a given lifetime is relatively finite. If you chew gum frequently between meals, it is very feasible that you are using up your digestive enzyme reserves so that the next time you eat, you won’t have enough digestive enzymes on hand to fully digest the meal.
    Recent reports have found that excessive gum chewing can easily aggravate jaw muscles and thereby ultimately cause TJM syndrome (temporomandibular joint disorder) – a clicking or popping noise in the jaw.

    But Brawndo’s got enzymes and vaccines are good for you. Eugenics works.

    Ya gotsta to have Hoap for the Future.

    Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho

  6. surely there has to be a superior option than sugar-free gum? of all the things to advocate for….

    credit-suisse published lengthy report called ‘Fat: The New Health Paradigm’ in 2015. it can be found here:

    it argues that carbs and vegetable oils are the key culprits and that saturated fat intake is likely beneficial or at worst neutral in terms of health outcomes.

    a snippet: “We believe that we are at a turning point. Our own analysis and the most recent medical research support these new trends. Medical research has shown that eating cholesterol has basically no influence on the level of cholesterol in the blood or on potential heart diseases. Neither has the link between saturated fat intake and cardiovascular risk ever been proven.

    On the other hand, a high intake of omega-6 polyunsaturated fats (vegetable oils) has not been proven as beneficial for our health and trans-fats have been shown to have negative health effects. The higher intake of vegetable oils and the increase in carbohydrate consumption in the last 30-40 years are the two leading factors behind the high rates of obesity and metabolic syndrome in the U.S. Saturated and monounsaturated fats are not. “

  7. If the government tells you something, you can bet it’s been paid for and is probably completely opposite of the truth. The information about Dr. F, hydroxi-C, Ivermectin, the Wuhan lab was all available early last year on the internet.

  8. I treat dieticians’ recommendations with contempt. During the early 1980s in the commandos we were given salt pills during the summer. Obviously you lose salt by sweating, so it has to be replenished. But dieticians say it’s bad. In the middle 1980s, after a routine medical check-up I was recommended an anti-cholesterol diet, although I felt healthy and fit. I ignored it and never tested for cholesterol again. In the mid-70s now, I believe I shall see the end of the current century too. I also won’t be tested or vaccinated for Covid-19. That is for sissies.

  9. gmos and synth sugars and yes even the stevia got gmodded for supergrowth etc before coke n the rest started pushing it, china had a lot to do with breeding superstevia under agreements with usa food mobs.
    the sugar free gum promo again was done and paid for BY industry promting fake sugars
    didnt know wether to laugh or weep when your govt passed tomato ketchup as a Vegetable for school lunch nutrition scores years ago.
    and agreeing with above the brains need fats to process and for energy. low fat fake sugar diets havent stopped obesity OR anything else but they have made HUGE profits for food processors, and statins for pharmas meanwhile alzheimers etc soars..hmm

  10. The idea that the latest government nutrition guidelines are better than older ones is ridiculous.

    The general understanding of nutrition was far, far better a century ago than it is today.

  11. I was skinny as a child. I was skinny as a young adult… but starting around age 25 I started gaining weight.

    At the time I was following the absolutely stupid Federal government nutrition “guidelines” aka, the Pyramid diet. I ate mostly whole grains, then fresh fruits & veggies, with moderate amounts of proteins (meat, poultry, fish, & soy), 3 cups of milk a day plus other dairy, and small amount of fats. I almost never drink alcohol. I was at that time physically mobile and walked at least 5 miles a day (and often walks of 15 miles on a weekend) with frequent bike riding up to 20 miles a day. Despite all that I continued to gain weight, until I was 100 lbs overweight. No matter what I tried (increasing walking, very low fat diet as then suggested)… nothing worked at all.

    Eventually the “guidelines” changed but it was harder by then to change my supposedly health behavior. I finally got so frustrated by not being able to lose weight I started going to doctor’s about it. I went for a few months to a diet support group where the leader insisted that what I wrote down I was eating in my food diary that I was lying. I was not lying. She also made totally unhelpful suggestions like “If you eat a whole chicken at a meal, eat half the chicken.” or “If you eat a whole pie, just eat one piece”. In my whole life I have never come close to eating a whole chicken in one meal or a whole pie… I only had 2 pieces of pie for Thanksgiving, and usually kept them small. I told her that, she claimed I was lying so… I quit going to that program.

    Then eventually I developed osteoarthritis and started having mobility problems and gained more weight. I considered bariatric surgery but it freaked me out when I found out what it entailed… basically the “gold standard” is to remove most of your stomach… despite the fact there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that having a stomach is what causes you to become obese.

    Then I went for a year to a medically supervised weight loss program, was put on a <900 calorie keto diet which consisted of specific food products (not normal food) and weekly meetings. I lost 130 lbs and went into the maintenance part of the program which transitions you to eating regular food … but then moved two months later and found that it was harder and harder to eat by the recommended maintenance plan which made me feel constantly hungry (I never had that problem on their low cal keto diet). Enter the stupid lockdowns and over time I ended up gaining back most of the weight I initially lost.

    SO yeah, I'm disgusted with government guidelines on a lot of things these days.

  12. It isn’t the task of government to produce guidelines for humans how to life your life.

Comments are closed.