Perspective: Challenges and controversial issues in the dietary guidelines for Americans, 1980-2015

Marion Nestle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Since 1980, every edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) has recommended increased consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, but reduced consumption of saturated fat, sugars, and sodium and, therefore, their primary food sources. Every edition has generated controversy, mainly from producers of foods affected by "eat less" recommendations, particularly meat. Objections to the 2015 DGAs focused on environmental aswell as scientific issues, but also on purported conflicts of interest amongmembers of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. On this basis, critics induced Congress to authorize the National Academy of Medicine (NAM) to review the process of drawing up the guidelines. The NAM's 2017 reports should strengthen the process, but as long as science continues to support advice to reduce consumption of targeted foods, the guidelines will continue to elicit political controversy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)148-150
Number of pages3
JournalAdvances in Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2018


  • Dietary guidelines
  • Food policy
  • Meat industry
  • Public health
  • Public policy
  • Science vs. politics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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