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Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015

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Comments submitted to the federal government on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

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Anonymous Comment ID #5309

04/01/2015

Dear Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Burwell and members of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,
The impending update of the Dietary Guidelines offer the USDA and the DGAC the opportunity to help consumers understand that not all omega-3 fatty acids provide equal health benefits.
Past Dietary Guidelines have delivered recommendations only for the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which has led to inadequate intake of the essential fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Although ALA – a polyunsaturated fat – is a healthier fat choice, it does not provide the same, well-documented, health benefits as EPA and particularly, DHA. I urge the DGAC to include daily recommendations for all three omega-3 fatty acids in the 2015 update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
DHA cannot be produced by the human body, and therefore must be taken in through diet. Although ALA has long been considered a precursor for DHA, its rate of conversion to this important nutrient is inefficient. Accordingly, the DGAC must encourage daily intake of DHA for optimal growth, development and cognitive function in children and reduced risk of heart disease and cognitive health decline, as well as a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for reduction and prevention of chronic disease in adults.
DHA has been studied extensively worldwide for these benefits, and along with EPA, is recommended for daily intake by many countries. In fact, the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) recommends adults consume 500mg per day of DHA +EPA for cardiovascular health and 200mg per day of DHA for pregnant and lactating women for healthy fetal and infant development.
In closing, I encourage the USDA and the DGAC to provide specific recommendations based on scientific studies for both DHA and EPA, and include these key nutrients in the “Nutrients of Concern Due to Underconsumption” section of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for the improved health of American citizens.
Thank you.

Justin Combs

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.1: Food and Nutrient Intakes, and Health: Current Status and Trends

Elizabeth Sias Comment ID #5307

04/01/2015

Please include sustainability in the new dietary guidelines. Our food choices have a huge impact on climate change, future water availability, food for our children, world hunger, and environmental preservation. Most people don't know the best types of foods to eat to make the biggest difference to the planet, and including this would be a step in the right direction.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Nicolle Putnam MS,RDN,LD Comment ID #5306

04/01/2015

Dear Secretary Vilsack, Secretary Burwell and members of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee,

The impending update of the Dietary Guidelines offer the USDA and the DGAC the opportunity to help consumers understand that not all omega-3 fatty acids provide equal health benefits.

Past Dietary Guidelines have delivered recommendations only for the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), which has led to inadequate intake of the essential fatty acids docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Although ALA – a polyunsaturated fat – is a healthier fat choice, it does not provide the same, well-documented, health benefits as EPA and particularly, DHA. I urge the DGAC to include daily recommendations for all three omega-3 fatty acids in the 2015 update of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
DHA cannot be produced by the human body, and therefore must be taken in through diet.
Although ALA has long been considered a precursor for DHA, its rate of conversion to this important nutrient is inefficient. Accordingly, the DGAC must encourage daily intake of DHA for optimal growth, development and cognitive function in children and reduced risk of heart disease and cognitive health decline, as well as a balanced omega-6 to omega-3 ratio for reduction and prevention of chronic disease in adults.

DHA has been studied extensively worldwide for these benefits, and along with EPA, is recommended for daily intake by many countries. In fact, the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids (ISSFAL) recommends adults consume 500mg per day of DHA +EPA for cardiovascular health and 200mg per day of DHA for pregnant and lactating women for healthy fetal and infant development.

In closing, I encourage the USDA and the DGAC to provide specific recommendations based on scientific studies for both DHA and EPA, and include these key nutrients in the “Nutrients of Concern Due to Underconsumption” section of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for the improved health of American citizens.

Thank you.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.1: Food and Nutrient Intakes, and Health: Current Status and Trends

Jean Johnson Comment ID #5304

04/01/2015

Please consider including the sustainability aspect in making this and all policy decisions moving forward. Disregard the paid comments from pro-ag lobbyists who are buying policy language that benefits their stakeholders but not your constituents. Sustainable policy is good for everyone's health over everything else.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Carol Metzger MS Comment ID #5302

04/01/2015

Why is there added cornstarch in Gerber chicken and broth for 4-month-olds? This is reprehensible. No added sugars or refined carbohydrates of any kind should be permitted in baby food.
Gerber 2nd Stage Baby Food
Ingredients: ground chicken, water, cornstarch

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • General Comment/Other

Anonymous Comment ID #5300

04/01/2015

Dear Secretary Vilsack and Secretary Burwell,

As a citizen and a taxpayer concerned about the sustainability of our health and our planet, I applaud the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) for including the major findings represented in Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety regarding plant-based diets as more health promoting and associated with less environmental impact than the current U.S. diet.

In late 2014, the international affairs think-tank Chatham House released a study which concluded that it is unlikely global temperature rises can be kept below two degrees Celsius without a radical shift in global meat and dairy consumption. However, they found that there is a striking lack of efforts to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products due to not least, government’s fear of backlash to pursue policies that would shift consumer behavior. The absence of attention afforded to the issue among policy-makers contributes to a lack of research on how best to reduce meat and dairy consumption, which the health of our nation and our planet can no longer afford.

The data presented in the Chatham House study also revealed a major awareness gap about the livestock industry’s contribution to the climate change. They found that compared with other sectors, the public’s recognition of the livestock sector as a significant contributor to a warming planet was markedly low. They noted that consumers with a higher level of awareness were “more likely to indicate willingness to reduce their meat and dairy consumption for climate objectives.” Closing the awareness gap is therefore likely to be an important precondition for behavior change.

Americans and programs across the United States rely on the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) recommendations for proper guidance when making food choices. These guidelines are the first step towards a more empowered and healthy, nation and planet.

In addition to embracing the DGAC recommendations, I respectfully request that the following provisions be heavily considered when finalizing the report:

· While the DGAC cites the Food Agriculture Organization (FAO) for identifying the Mediterranean diet as an example of a sustainable diet, their own findings have shown that most of the world's fisheries have reached their maximum potential for capture, with the majority of stocks being fully exploited. In addition, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) states that fish consumption advisories for methylmercury now account for more than three-quarters of all fish consumption advisories in the United States.

· Massive amounts of critical irrigated surface and ground water are used in the production of meat and dairy, which diverts scarce water resources and accelerates the rapid depletion of underground aquifers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1,000 gallons of water are required to produce just one gallon of milk. Nut and soy based milks have been found to be much less-water intensive than dairy based products, more health promoting and should be advertised as a main form of calcium in combination with plants.

In 2014, Cone Communications Food Issues Trend Tracker revealed Americans are willing to sacrifice variety and dollars in order to eat more consciously. Although family satisfaction is the primary driver (97%), health and nutrition (93%) and sustainability (77%) were shown to be major important factors when deciding which foods to buy.

It is now up to the USDA to embrace the DGAC recommendations that will help consumers to understand that long-term individual health and food system sustainability are synonymous.

In closing, I urge you to include the DGAC recommendations for incorporating environmental sustainability into the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Thank you for your consideration.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Anonymous Comment ID #5277

03/31/2015

As an individual with severe health disorders, I am very fortunate to have a licensed nutritionist/dietician who has the good sense to recommend a diet plentiful in red meats, full-fat dairy, and raw vegetables. Without their expertise and without having taken their recommendations, it is very likely I would no longer be an able-bodied member of society. I did not take any medications- all of the medications that had been prescribed all had negative effects. The only thing I changed was making sure my diet was full of healthy, locally raised beef, full-fat dairy, lots of raw vegetable and fermented foods, and within one year on this strict "paleo" diet, my entire health was almost fully restored.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • General Comment/Other

Heather Payne J.D. Comment ID #5276

03/31/2015

As an engineer and concerned citizen, I write in support of
recommendations to quantify and reduce Americans' added sugar
consumption in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

In its report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Dietary Guidelines
Advisory Committee (DGAC) has recommended limiting added sugar to 10
percent of daily calories and including a separate line for added
sugars, as well as the percent daily value, on the Nutrition Facts
label. I strongly urge you to follow these recommendations in preparing
the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Doing so will be an
important step toward better health in the United States.

The members of the DGAC are distinguished scientists and have done
their work with a very systematic, comprehensive, and evidence-based
approach. Their conclusions represent the scientific consensus. As the
DGAC found in its exhaustive review of the literature, studies
increasingly point to the overconsumption of sugar in this country as a
major contributing factor in rising health risks for metabolic
syndrome, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lipid
abnormalities, and hypertension. In 2012, the U.S. per capita daily
sugar consumption was 82 grams--far more sugar consumption than
recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Heart
Association. (i,ii,iii) More must be done to address our sugar
overconsumption in order to improve the health of all Americans.

The DGAC has considered recommending a limit on added sugar in the
past, but as the evidence linking added sugar to chronic diseases has
continued to mount, so have efforts by the food industry to attack the
science, spread misinformation, deploy industry scientists, infiltrate
academia, and influence policy.

The DGAC's decision to recommend limiting and labeling added sugar,
despite these efforts by sugar interests, is a victory for science. In
preparing the 2015 dietary guidelines, it is vitally important for the
USDA and HHS to implement the DGAC's recommendations on limiting and
labeling added sugar because Americans need science-based information
to counteract food industry efforts to mislead them. Consumer choice is
an often used mantra invoked by companies and their trade associations
against public policy on regulating sugar-laden products. However, the
food industry plays a significant role in manipulating consumer choice
by spending billions annually on marketing and advertising to persuade
the public to buy products high in added sugar, including many that are
seemingly healthy like yogurt, bread, and cereal.

The DGAC's recommendation to limit and label added sugar is a valuable
step forward. It recognizes the growing body of scientific evidence
that overconsumption of sugar is a major contributing factor to an
increased risk of chronic disease, along with the subsequent and
significant health care costs of treatment. By following the DGAC's
recommendation, the USDA and HHS would have a significant and positive
impact on the long-term health of American families and communities
across the nation.

Sincerely,
Heather Payne

Footnotes:
i. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. U.S.
Consumption of Caloric Sweeteners. Online at
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/sugar-and-sweeteners-yearbook-tables.aspx#.U384BPldWCk,
accessed May 23, 2014.
ii. Johnson, R. K.; L. J. Appel; M. Brands; B. V. Howard; M. Lefevre;
R. H. Lustig; F. Sacks; L. M. Steffen; J. Wylie-Rosett
2009. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific
statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation.
120:1011-1020. Online at
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full.pdf, accessed May
23, 2014.
iii. World Health Organization. 2003. Diet, nutrition and the
prevention of chronic diseases. Geneva, Switzerland. Online at
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/who_trs_916.pdf, accessed April 20, 2014.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.6: Cross-Cutting Topics of Public Health Importance

Anonymous Comment ID #5275

03/31/2015

I write in support of recommendations to quantify and reduce
Americans' added sugar consumption in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for
Americans.

In its report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Dietary Guidelines
Advisory Committee (DGAC) has recommended limiting added sugar to 10
percent of daily calories and including a separate line for added
sugars, as well as the percent daily value, on the Nutrition Facts
label. I urge you to follow these recommendations in preparing the 2015
Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Doing so will be an important step
toward better health in the United States.

As the evidence linking added sugar to chronic diseases has continued
to mount, so have efforts by the food industry to attack the science,
spread misinformation, deploy industry scientists, infiltrate academia,
and influence policy.

The DGAC's recommendation to limit and label added sugar is a valuable
step forward. It recognizes the growing body of scientific evidence
that overconsumption of sugar is a major contributing factor to an
increased risk of chronic disease, along with the subsequent and
significant health care costs of treatment. By following the DGAC's
recommendation, the USDA and HHS would have a significant and positive
impact on the long-term health of American families and communities
across the nation.


Sincerely,
Gail Wertz

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.6: Cross-Cutting Topics of Public Health Importance

D. Richard Decker Ph.D. Comment ID #5271

03/31/2015

Subject: Added sugar in Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015--comments on report by Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

As a scientist and concerned citizen, I write in support of
recommendations to quantify and reduce Americans' added sugar
consumption in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I personally
must watch my sugar intake each day to avoid very significant negative
health affects. Stealth or hidden, added sugar in foods is a serious,
health threatening challenge for many people these days.

In its report to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Dietary Guidelines
Advisory Committee (DGAC) has recommended limiting added sugar to 10
percent of daily calories and including a separate line for added
sugars, as well as the percent daily value, on the Nutrition Facts
label. I strongly urge you to follow these recommendations in preparing
the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Doing so will be an
important step toward better health in the United States.

The members of the DGAC are distinguished scientists and have done
their work with a very systematic, comprehensive, and evidence-based
approach. Their conclusions represent the scientific consensus. As the
DGAC found in its exhaustive review of the literature, studies
increasingly point to the overconsumption of sugar in this country as a
major contributing factor in rising health risks for metabolic
syndrome, including diabetes, cardiovascular disease, lipid
abnormalities, and hypertension. In 2012, the U.S. per capita daily
sugar consumption was 82 grams--far more sugar consumption than
recommended by the World Health Organization and the American Heart
Association. (i,ii,iii) More must be done to address our sugar
overconsumption in order to improve the health of all Americans.

The DGAC has considered recommending a limit on added sugar in the
past, but as the evidence linking added sugar to chronic diseases has
continued to mount, so have efforts by the food industry to attack the
science, spread misinformation, deploy industry scientists, infiltrate
academia, and influence policy.

The DGAC's decision to recommend limiting and labeling added sugar,
despite these efforts by sugar interests, is a victory for science. In
preparing the 2015 dietary guidelines, it is vitally important for the
USDA and HHS to implement the DGAC's recommendations on limiting and
labeling added sugar because Americans need science-based information
to counteract food industry efforts to mislead them. Consumer choice is
an often used mantra invoked by companies and their trade associations
against public policy on regulating sugar-laden products. However, the
food industry plays a significant role in manipulating consumer choice
by spending billions annually on marketing and advertising to persuade
the public to buy products high in added sugar, including many that are
seemingly healthy like yogurt, bread, and cereal.

The DGAC's recommendation to limit and label added sugar is a valuable
step forward. It recognizes the growing body of scientific evidence
that overconsumption of sugar is a major contributing factor to an
increased risk of chronic disease, along with the subsequent and
significant health care costs of treatment. By following the DGAC's
recommendation, the USDA and HHS would have a significant and positive
impact on the long-term health of American families and communities
across the nation.

Sincerely,
D. Richard Decker

Footnotes:
i. U.S. Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. U.S.
Consumption of Caloric Sweeteners. Online at
http://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/sugar-and-sweeteners-yearbook-tables.aspx#.U384BPldWCk,
accessed May 23, 2014.
ii. Johnson, R. K.; L. J. Appel; M. Brands; B. V. Howard; M. Lefevre;
R. H. Lustig; F. Sacks; L. M. Steffen; J. Wylie-Rosett
2009. Dietary sugars intake and cardiovascular health: A scientific
statement from the American Heart Association. Circulation.
120:1011-1020. Online at
http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/120/11/1011.full.pdf, accessed May
23, 2014.
iii. World Health Organization. 2003. Diet, nutrition and the
prevention of chronic diseases. Geneva, Switzerland. Online at
http://whqlibdoc.who.int/trs/who_trs_916.pdf, accessed April 20, 2014.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.6: Cross-Cutting Topics of Public Health Importance
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