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Article Highlights Challenges of Nutrition Policymaking

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

(North American Meat Institute)

Joanne Slavin, Ph.D., RD, professor in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota and 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) member, published an article in Nutrition Journal examining the challenges involved in developing federal food and nutrition policy. Slavin's research focuses on the way science is used in federal policymaking. According to Slavin, there is not always a sufficient level of new scientific research to warrant changes to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are required by law to be updated every five years. Slavin suggests that without new science to review, the DGAC may choose to focus on fads and trends instead of evidence-based data. She further notes that practical policies that emphasize moderation and variety in dietary guidance must supersede restrictive advice that recommends avoiding certain foods. In fact, Slavin concludes that Americans are unlikely to prioritize building sustainable diets, and should not be asked to avoid processed foods, which provide nutrition and convenience for individuals with less access to full-service grocery stores.

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