Criticisms of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines

The USDA’s 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines are based in part upon scientific evidence gathered in a report by an Advisory Committee made up of nutritionists and health experts. But many of those experts have voiced loud criticism about key findings that were not mentioned in the final Guidelines, including:

  • Sodas and sugary beverages contribute to chronic disease.
  • Red and processed meats contribute to cancer.
  • Beef production has a significantly negative impact on the environment.

Critics of the Dietary Guidelines believe that these findings should have produced clear recommendations to avoid sodas, sugary drinks, and red and processed meat. While the Dietary Guidelines do not endorse these foods directly, it does not emphasize the health and environmental risks of consuming them. 

Where can I learn more?

When trying to understand information about health, it’s always a good idea to look for the source and read up on the entire conversation. What scientific studies is this information based upon? Who is funding the dissemination of information? Where does the consensus in the scientific community lie?

If you would like to learn more, you can start by reading the Advisory Committee’s original scientific report. Dr. David Katz, the President of the American College of Lifestyle Medicine, outlined his criticisms of the Guidelines in an article on Huffington Post. And the Boston Globe published an article that describes the concerns of many nutritionists, including Walter Willett from the Harvard School of Public Health. The American Cancer Society and the World Health Organization also recommend avoiding red meat