The U.S. government's newly released dietary guidelines is receiving criticism from health experts, as it did not include two major recommendations regarding alcohol and sugar consumption.
According to the New York Times, an external scientific advisory committee had advised the Trump administration to lower the suggested amount of daily alcohol intake in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which is updated every five years. The federal government defines "moderate drinking" as one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men; however the advisory panel urged the Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services to limit suggested alcohol consumption to one drink a day for men. Though the committee cited a number of health risks related to increased alcohol intake, the federal agencies ultimately rejected the recommendation.
"I'm stunned by the whole thing," Marion Nestle, a professor emerita of nutrition and food studies at New York University, told the Times. "Despite repeated claims that the guidelines are science-based, the Trump agencies ignored the recommendation of the scientific committee they had appointed, and instead reverted to the recommendation of the previous guidelines."
The guidelines also did not include the advisory committee's suggestions regarding sugar consumption. According to the Times, the panel argued Americans should limit daily calories from added sugars to no more than 6 percent. The agencies refused to include that suggestion in the guidelines, which means the current recommendation remains at 10 percent. The panel stated that higher levels of sugar consumption can often lead to health problems like Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, which can increase the severity of COVID-19 illnesses.
Critics also slammed the guidelines for failing to address the global pandemic as well as issues regarding chronic disease, reducing food insecurity, and the ways food production impacts climate change.
"The report was introduced as science-based — they used the word science many times, and made a big point about it," Nestle said. "But they ignored the scientific committee which they appointed, which I thought was astounding."