The new dietary guidelines issued by the Federal government for Americans of all ages have not taken into consideration the recommendations of scientists to lower the amount of alcohol and sugar consumed in a day.
The US department of agriculture and health and human services issued the 5-year guidelines that retained the previous recommendations with regards to sugar and alcohol intake.
New US Dietary Guidelines Does Not Lower Sugar, Alcohol Intake
According to the recommendations, the added sugar intake per day should be less than 10% of calories consumed during the day. When it comes to alcohol intake, it should be limited to one or two drinks for men and one or less for women.
If a person is consuming 2000 calories in a day, about 200 calories of added sugars can be used during the day. In common terms, this amounts to about 50 grams of added sugar. A can of coke contains about 39 grams of sugar and about 140 calories.
The dietary guidelines Advisory Committee that consists of 20 scientists, had recommended modifying the guidelines to lower the amount of sugar intake.
According to the scientists, Americans should consume less than 6% of calories from added sugars as there is an increased risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, and cancers across the country.
All these underlying conditions also put the people under the high-risk category with regards to getting infected by a coronavirus.
This is not surprising as the Federal government has to consider the interest of the industry and several other factors while issuing such health guidelines. They have also been criticized several times for such measures.
According to recent studies, the average American consumes about 270 calories, which is 13% of daily calorie intake in the form of added sugars.
Most of the added sugar intake is through coffee and tea, sugars, breakfast cereals and bars, sweetened beverages, desserts, and sweets.
The committee had also recommended that Americans who consume alcohol regularly should not drink more than one drink per day. As per the recommendations, 1 alcoholic drink is equal to 5 fluid ounces of wine or 12 fluid ounces of regular beer.
The committee members are of the opinion that reducing alcohol consumption to one drink or less per day will decrease the chances of cardiovascular disease and cancer in the long run.
However, the Federal government rejected the recommendations of the committee as there was no proper evidence to support the recommendations.
The dietary guidelines for Americans report were first issued in 1980, and the federal nutrition programs are based on these guidelines.
Depending on the recommendations, the National School lunch program and military rations are allocated. In the latest edition submitted by the Federal government this year, new recommendations for infants and toddlers are provided.
According to the new guidelines, infants and toddlers should be given only breast milk for at least 6 months, and added sugar should not be given to children younger than 2.
Earlier, the department had faced a lot of criticism from scientists and lawmakers as the guidelines were based on weak scientific evidence, and it was influenced by industry interests.
It is important for the Federal government to also consider the pandemic situation while giving new recommendations for sugar and alcohol intake.
As a high intake of alcohol and sugar leads to various health conditions that increase the risk factor for covid-19, guidelines should temporarily suggest a lowered intake of alcohol and added sugar.
According to recent reports, the consumption of alcohol increased during the pandemic situation as more people were sitting at home due to the lockdown.
The government should consider all these factors before suggesting health guidelines for the public.