The 2015 dietary guideline recommendations offer a chance to dissect the role of science in policy-making

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

2015 DGAC recommendations and the role of science in policy-making

Related tags Nutrition Ift

The science behind the 2015 dietary guideline recommendations came under attack within hours of their publication, triggering an angry, ongoing debate about the recommendations’ validity, which a panel of experts will consider next week at IFT in Chicago. 

The panel, which includes former dietary guideline advisory committee members, will consider allegations that the current advisory committee ignored science​, unfairly “demonized”​ ingredients​ and common foods and overstepped its charge​ in making its recommendations. 

The current committee recently defended the science behind its recommendations​ in a letter to legislators that asked Congressional leaders not to meddle with the scientific review and policy-making process. 

The presentation at IFT also will use the recommendations and related political fight as a case study to better understand how research is gathered, evaluated and used to set public policy.

Specifically, Joanne Slavin, a professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota and former member of the 2010 DGAC, will explore the widespread impact of the food and nutrition policy on public health and make recommendations to ensure an evidence-based process moving forward.

Connie Weaver, head of Purdue University’s Department of Nutrition Science and a member of the 2005 DGAC, will examine how policy makers review scientific evidence and how their process influences policy recommendations and the development process.

Finally, Roger Clemens, a spokesman for IFT and a member of the 2010 DGAC, will walk attendees through the process-related aspects of policy making, such as the evidence grading system and interpretation differences.

IFT attendees will have a chance to pose questions directly to the panel following the presentations, which will take place at 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. July 14 in room S403 of the South Building of McCormick Place. Those who are not able to attend the session, 101: A More Effective National Food and Nutrition Policy: Balancing the Role of Research, Nutrition Science and Public Health​, can pose questions below in the comments section to possibly be put to the panelists by FoodNavigator-USA, which will moderate the session.  

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