The 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) was recently released, which will be in place until 2020. I didn't necessarily want to read them because I think they're pretty useless, but I figured that as a dietitian I should probably be aware of what is being recommended to the public.
Why my critical tone? Well, first of all the data shows that most Americans aren't following the guidelines anyway. And secondly, the guidelines are oozing with advice about calorie counting, losing weight, avoiding certain foods and labeling foods as healthy/unhealthy. The government is trying to put all of America on a diet. And diets don't work.
To be fair, I don't think the advice is 100% bad. I just think the spirit of it is ultimately unhelpful. I also object to them making recommendations about physical activity in the DGA because it further links food and exercise to weight loss. The evidence is pretty solid that if your primary motivation for exercise is to lose weight you won't stick with it for very long, and that exercise itself is ineffective at producing weight loss to begin with. IMHO exercise recommendations don't belong in the dietary guidelines.
And then there's MyPlate, the new version of the infamous Food Guide Pyramid. MyPlate serves as the primary way that the DGA are communicated to the general public. Now they've added "MyPlate, MyWins" (insert eye roll) as the theme for the 2015-2020 marketing campaign for MyPlate. Along with it comes SuperTracker where you can log your food and exercise and track your weight. Why oh why do we keep doing these things that don't work? And why does the US Government, who has funded tons of the obesity studies, continue to promote ideas and strategies that their own studies have shown to be ineffective? Good grief.
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