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The Only Thing That Should Be Set in Stone Is the Ten Commandments: Dealing With Unplanned Obsolescence in the US Dietary Guidelines

Sutherland, Lisa A. PhD; Kaley, Lori A. MS, RD, MSB

doi: 10.1097/NT.0b013e3181e98980
Issues for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines

For more than 100 years in the United States, dietary guidance has existed to guide food choices. In the 1980s, the first formal process, by which US dietary guidance is reviewed and created, was instituted, and this process has continued to evolve, albeit slowly, up until present day. However, it is unclear if the Dietary Guidelines for Americans have kept up with the evolution of this process over the past thirty years. During this time, nutrition and medical science has evolved dramatically. Yet, despite decades of well-intentioned advice, review, updates and revisions, there has simply been an additive effect to US dietary guidance resulting in too many messages and consumer confusion. This begs the question: Does current dietary guidance consist of too many messages and some long-standing nutrition advice that may be obsolete? We present a case study that demonstrates how some old guidance may not meet the current evidentiary-based standards to establish it as a guideline today, therefore making it obsolete, and a brief overview of how the dietary guideline review and updating process have evolved over the past 40 years from one of consensus to evidentiary based

Food for thought on going forward next time with the Dietary Guidelines

Lisa A. Sutherland, PhD, is an assistant professor of pediatrics and senior nutrition scientist with the Hood Center for Families and Children at Dartmouth Medical School. Dr Sutherland‘s work focuses on the impact of marketing, media, and the retail environment on the food choices of children and their families. Dr Sutherland was the lead scientist on the Hannaford Supermarket Guiding Stars nutrition navigation program. She is currently the principal investigator of an National Cancer Institute-funded Career Development Award that examines the impact of TV advertising on Tween recall, recognition, and food choices. Dr Sutherland has international expertise in dietary guidance, food labeling, and health claims regulation.

Lori A. Kaley, MS, RD, MSB, Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine, Augusta, Maine. Ms Kaley is a policy associate at the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. In this role Ms Kaley manages applied research projects and creates policies that ensure families and children have access to healthy foods and beverages. Ms Kaley is a member of the Guiding Stars Scientific Advisory Panel providing scientific expertise on the development and implementation of the Guiding Stars nutrition guidance program. Ms Kaley has expertise in policy analysis, social marketing, and nutrient profiling systems. Ms Kaley‘s research interests are in nutrition and physical activity policy and environmental change and obesity prevention.

Readers will be pleased to note that some but not all of the concerns about recommendations have been addressed in the 2010 DGAC Report.

Dr Sutherland received an unrestricted grant from FoodMinds for the development of this article. FoodMinds, LLC, is a food and nutrition company that harnesses science, public affairs, and communications. FoodMinds received program funding from the Iowa Egg Commission.

Ms Kaley did not receive compensation for the development of this article. The views expressed are solely those of Dr Sutherland and Ms Kaley and do not represent the views of Dartmouth College or the Muskie School of Public Service, University of Southern Maine.

Correspondence: Lisa A. Sutherland, PhD, Department of Pediatrics, HB 7465, Community Health Research Program, Hood Center for Children & Families, Dartmouth Medical School, One Medical Center Dr, Lebanon, NH 03756 (

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.