Opinion: Dietary Guidelines for Americans Shouldn’t Place Limits on Total Fat Intake

In a Viewpoint published in the Journal of the Medical Association (JAMA), researchers from the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and Boston Children’s Hospital call on the federal government to drop restrictions on total fat consumption in the forthcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Co-authors Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the Friedman School, and David Ludwig, M.D., Ph.D., director of the New Balance Foundation Obesity Prevention Center at Boston Children’s Hospital, highlight a key, but overlooked, focus of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee (DGAC), a group of independent scientists convened by the federal government to review current scientific and medical literature on nutrition. For the first time since 1980, the DGAC did not propose restricting total fat consumption in its technical report, released in February. According to the current dietary guidelines, only up to 35 percent of daily calories should come from fat.

By the end of this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will write the final Dietary Guidelines for Americans, referring to the DGAC report for guidance. The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are scheduled to be published later this year.

‘Placing limits on total fat intake has no basis in science and leads to all sorts of wrong industry and consumer decisions,’ Mozaffarian said. ‘Modern evidence clearly shows that eating more foods rich in healthful fats like nuts, vegetable oils, and fish have protective effects, particularly for cardiovascular disease. Other fat-rich foods, like whole milk and cheese, appear pretty neutral; while many low-fat foods, like low-fat deli meats, fat-free salad dressing, and baked potato chips, are no better and often even worse than full-fat alternatives. It’s the food that matters, not its fat content.’

For obesity prevention, the DGAC recommends shifting the focus from total fat intake to adoption of a healthier food-based dietary pattern with more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seafood and beans; and fewer meats, sugars, and refined grains.

‘When U.S. guidelines began recommending low-fat diets in 1980, people responded by turning to low-fat or non-fat products, away from healthy high-fat foods and toward refined grains and added sugars,’ Ludwig said. ‘A growing body of research shows that refined carbohydrates increase metabolic dysfunction and obesity. Yet, foods rich in added sugars, starches and refined grains like white bread, white rice, chips, crackers and bakery desserts still account for most of the calories people eat. Lifting the restriction on total fat would clear the way for restaurants and industry to reformulate products containing more healthful fats and fewer refined grains and added sugars.’

To maximize success, Mozaffarian and Ludwig call on a wide range of other government agencies and programs to also lift the limit on total fat. This includes the National School Lunch program, which recently banned whole milk while keeping sugar-sweetened non-fat milk on cafeteria menus; the FDA, which regulates health claims and food package labeling and remains strongly low-fat focused; and the National Institutes of Health, whose guidelines on healthy diets for families and children classify fat-free creamy salad dressing and trimmed beef and pork as foods to ‘eat almost any time’ while being cautious about eating vegetables cooked with added fat, nuts, vegetable oil and olive oil.

‘From agriculture to food producers to school cafeterias to restaurants, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans serve as a beacon for countless dietary choices in the public and private sector,’ Mozaffarian said. ‘With obesity and chronic disease impacting public health so deeply, we can’t miss this critical opportunity to improve the food supply. The USDA and HHS must use the 2015 guidelines to send the message that limiting total fat provides no benefits and actually leads to confusion and bad dietary choices.’

Source: EurekAlert!


Old-fashioned Pancake with Rolled Oats to Add Texture and Fibre


1½ cups low-fat buttermilk
3/4 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp margarine, melted
2 egg whites
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (essence)
1 cup unbleached flour
2 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

Honey-fruit Sauce

1 pear, peeled, cored and died
1 tart apple, peeled, cored and diced
1 cup honey
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
4 whole cloves


  1. To make the honey-fruit sauce, combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the fruit is tender, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard the cloves.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the buttermilk, oats, margarine, egg whites and vanilla. Let stand for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and nutmeg. Add the flour mixture to the buttermilk mixture and stir to mix well.
  3. Coat a griddle or large nonstick frying pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place over medium-high heat until hot. The griddle is the right temperature when water dropped on the surface bounces and dances. If the water evaporates immediately, the griddle is too hot; if the water sits still, the griddle is not hot enough.
  4. Spoon the batter in scant 1/3-cup portions onto the hot griddle to make 12 pancakes. Flip each pancake when the surface is covered with tiny bubbles, about 3 minutes. Cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 2 minutes more.
  5. Divide pancakes among 4 individual plates. One serving is 3 pancakes.
  6. To serve, spoon the hot sauce over the pancakes. One serving is 2 tablespoons.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Cooking for Healthy Living

What’s for Breakfast?

Home-cooked Chinese Breakfast

The Menu

  • Sti-fried Rice with Shrimp and Vegetables
  • Seaweed Egg Drop Soup
  • Apple and Kiwi Fruit

Today’s Comic

Spiced Pork Tenderloin Grilled with Pineapple, Sweet Peppers and Red Onion


3 pork tenderloins, about 1 pound each
3 large red bell peppers, halved lengthwise, seeded, and deribbed
2 large red onions, cut crosswise into thirds
1 ripe pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rings
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
chopped fresh cilantro leaves for garnish


3/4 cup thinly sliced green onion tops
3 large cloves garlic, quartered
3 large jalapeno chilies, seeded and minced
1 habanero chili, seeded and minced
3 tablespoons dark rum
3 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon coarse salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon ground allspice
1½ teaspoons coarsely ground pepper


  1. To make the marinade: In a food processor, combine all the marinade ingredients and pulse 4 to 6 times to blend thoroughly until thick and textured, similar to chunky salsa.
  2. Put the tenderloins in a large, self-sealing plastic bag or shallow dish. Scrape the marinade into the bag or over the tenderloins in the dish. Coat the meat with the marinade, seal the bag or cover the dish with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 8 hours.
  3. Arrange the bell peppers, onions, and pineapple rings on a large platter.
  4. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, cumin, salt, and cayenne. Drizzle over the vegetables and fruit and turn it to coat all surfaces.
  5. Prepare a fire in a charcoal grill with a cover or preheat a gas grill to medium. Lightly spray the grill rack with vegetable-oil cooking spray.
  6. Lay the bell peppers and onion slices on the grill rack, cover the grill, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until they start to soften. Move the vegetables to the cooler, outer edge of the grill. Put the pineapple dices on the outer edge, too.
  7. Lift the pork from the marinade and place it on the center of the grill rack, over the hottest coals. No need to pat the tenderloins dry; the marinade adds flavor as it cooks. Discard any leftover marinade in the bag or dish. Cover the grill and cook, turning once or twice using tongs, for 12 to 15 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the meat registers 155°F.
  8. Meanwhile, turn the pineapple, bell peppers, and onions several times until softened and browned. Arrange on a serving platter.
  9. Transfer the tenderloins to a cutting board and let rest for about 5 minutes. Slice and lay the pork over the pineapple and vegetables. Garnish with cilantro and serve.

Makes 6 servings

Source: Lobel’s Prime Cuts

In Pictures: Decorative Sushi