Four Decades of the Wrong Dietary Advice Has Paved the Way for the Diabetes Epidemic: Time to Change Course
In 1977, the McGovern Commission, chaired by then-Senator George McGovern, issued dietary guidelines that we follow to this day. The commission recommended that Americans receive no more than 30 percent of their energy requirements from fat and that we consume no more that 10 percent of our calories as saturated fat.
Dr. Robert Olson, professor of medicine and chairman of the Biochemistry Department at St. Louis University and an expert on nutrition science argued that the recommendations were not supported by the available science. In Dr. Olson's words:
"I pleaded in my report and will plead again orally here for more research on the problem before we make announcements to the American public."
Senator McGovern, speaking for the commission stated that:
"Senators don't have the luxury the research scientist does of waiting until every last shred of evidence is in."
Senator McGovern's comment concerning "every last shred of evidence" was widely off the mark. It was never a question of having supportive, but incomplete, evidence. There simply was no convincing scientific evidence at all in support of the commission's recommendations. There still isn't.
At the time that the commission issued its dietary guidelines, only 2,500 men had been studied in randomized control trials, the gold standard in clinical research. No study included women. No study showed that a low-fat diet was superior to a diet higher in fat content in any measure of health outcome. In fact, in the one study that compared a 10 percent saturated fat intake to a diet with unrestricted saturated fat, the low-f Continue reading