In a Viewpoint recently published in the Journal of the Medical Association (JAMA), researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science & Policy at Tufts University and Boston Children’s Hospital urged the federal government to drop restrictions on total fat consumption in the upcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Co-authors Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Friedman School, and David Ludwig, director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, highlight a key focus of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee (DGAC); a group of independent scientists assembled by the federal government to review current scientific and medical literature on nutrition. For the first time since 1980, the DGAC did not recommend restricting total daily fat consumption in its technical report. For obesity prevention, the DGAC recommends shifting the focus from total fat intake to adoption of a healthier food-based dietary pattern with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seafood and beans; and fewer meats, sugars, and refined grains. According to the current dietary guidelines, intake should be restricted to 35% of total calories.
“Placing limits on total fat intake has no basis in science and leads to all sorts of wrong industry and consumer decisions,” Mozaffarian said. “Modern evidence clearly shows that eating more foods rich in healthful fats like nuts, vegetable oils, and fish have protective effects, particularly for cardiovascular disease. Other fat-rich foods, like whole milk and cheese, appear pretty neutral; while many low-fat foods, like low-fat deli meats, fat-free salad dressing, and baked potato chips, are no better and often even worse than full-fat alternatives. It’s the food that matters, not its fat content.”