by Marion Nestle
Nov 1 2008

Dietary Guidelines: the process begins

According to Food Chemical News, November 3 (which, alas, only subscribers can read online), the first meeting of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines committee began with speeches from the agency sponsors.  FCN quotes Penelope Slade Royall, deputy assistant secretary of health in HHS’s Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (an office in which I worked from 1986-88):

“even when the new guidelines are approved and released in 2010, there’s nothing the committee can do to change people’s behavior…There are very dedicated people across the country working on these [guidelines] and I don’t understand why we’re not more successful.”

Really?  I can make some guesses.  Why not start by making the guidelines clear, direct, and unambiguous?  How about “eat less sugar,” “eliminate sugary drinks,” “eat less fast food,” “eat less often,” and “eat smaller portions.”   Or just the mantra of What to Eat: “Eat less, move more, eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and don’t eat too much junk food.”

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  • sid

    You make it sound so easy to deny ourselves the joys that advertising promises, to infuse happiness and health if we just eat more of (insert advertized processed food product) and more and more.

    and more and more. burp!

    One look at the lunch food of my coworkers and realize the simple message you offer above doesn’t get through, at all!

    but then what would one expect with the huge success of the corporate-ownership-of-government-agencies program.

    Keep at it Ms Nestle, you’re one of the voices of sanity and reason in our confusing, selfish and greedy world.

  • You can certainly say more in your three-word guidelines than most people can say in a 100 words. If this is too direct for the government, what is the next best more independent authoritative and broadly recognized source that could release some terse clear guidelines?

  • How about the Tufts School of Nutrition?

  • Perhaps the government should hire an ad agency to promote healthy eating with the same budget as, say, Coke or McDonald’s. Then maybe the health messages would be catchy and entertaining and stand a fighting chance against the opposition.

  • I’m so sad that everyone has got so confused, the government has a hand in getting everyone so confused. How hard is it to use your mantra? Oh but the sugar, corn, dairy and meat industries might get upset.

    I’m studying nutrition at the moment, and it makes me so angry that all most people need to do is eat more fruit and veg, wholegrains and less meat and sugar.