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Feature Nutrition

The scientific report guiding the US dietary guidelines: is it scientific?

BMJ 2015; 351 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4962 (Published 23 September 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;351:h4962

Re: The scientific report guiding the US dietary guidelines: is it scientific?

Clarification

We are happy to clarify two aspects of Nina Teicholz's article.

1) Deletion of meat: The article sought to report how the DGAC has dropped lean meat from the list of foods recommended for a healthy diet. Although lean meats are recommended in the 2010 guidelines, they no longer appear in the committee’s proposals for the updated 2015 guidelines.
The article says: “New proposals by the 2015 report include not only deleting meat from the list of foods recommended as part of its healthy diets, but also actively counselling reductions in ‘red and processed meats.’”
We accept that the article would have been clearer if it had used the phrase “deleting lean meat” rather than “deleting meat.”

2) Percentage of reviews conducted by the National Evidence Library: The article notes that the DGAC "did not use NEL reviews for more than 70% of the topics." Because some of the topics did not require reviews of the scientific literature, the article would have been clearer had the next sentence specified that we were referring only to those that did. The numbers provided by the report are contradictory, but it appears that the portion of questions requiring a systematic review that did not receive one is 63%.

Competing interests: No competing interests

29 September 2015
Rebecca Coombes
head of investigations and features
BMJ
BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, NC1H 9JR