News & Politics

Scientists: Michelle Obama's Nutrition Label Guidelines Lack 'Scientific Rigor'

(AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

The government is coming out with new guidelines on how to label nutrition in food products and many scientists are saying they’re junk.

Washington Free Beacon:

“I am thrilled that the FDA has finalized a new and improved Nutrition Facts label that will be on food products nationwide,” Mrs. Obama said in a statement. “This is going to make a real difference in providing families across the country the information they need to make healthy choices.”

In her remarks, Mrs. Obama called the added sugar change to the label the “most important of all.”

The regulation requires calorie amounts to be larger, and companies will have two years to begin including “added sugars” in order to “help consumers know how much sugar is added to the product during the processing of foods,” the White House said.

A letter critical of the new label signed by a dozen scientists, including Roger Clemens, a member of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, and Eric A. Decker, the head of the Department of Food Science at the University of Massachusetts, was submitted to the Office of Management and Budget. The scientists said the new label is “misleading,” and note that it was based on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, whose committee did not include a single expert on sugars.

“We are concerned that U.S. public health policy in this area may be progressing down a path that history suggests to be counterproductive,” the scientists wrote. “Specifically, the FDA’s proposed rule revising the Nutrition Facts Label with regard to an added sugars declaration and the establishment of a dietary reference value (DRV) of 10 percent lacks both the scientific rigor based on careful consideration or evidence-based reviews and a thorough appraisal of unintended consequences that will surely arise.”

“The FDA has stated its proposals are based on conclusions from the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (2015 DGAC),” they said. “In addition to the widely controversial nature of its report, it is critical to note that this committee did not include a single member with a specific expertise in sugars (or any carbohydrate) metabolism. As nutrition scientists and health professionals, we feel this is of significant concern.”

This is what happens when science is made a slave to politics. No member of the committee had expertise in sugars metabolism? Sounds like the fix was in for sugar from the beginning. And this shouldn’t surprise us given what a scold Mrs. Obama has been about sweets and snacks.

The key, as always, is moderation. Very few foods are bad for you if taken in small portions. Many parents have realized this on their own without any help from government, but the Nanny-in-Chief wants the government to shame you into eating what it considers “healthy” foods — sometimes the most boring, most awful, least tasty foods you can buy.

It wouldn’t be so bad if the definition of “healthy” didn’t change so often. But political agendas also change,  and so must the definition of healthy.