More than 50 doctors across the U.S. signed an open letter to the USDA calling on the organization to overhaul the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and ensure that recommendations are for all Americans. The letter ran in both the New York Times and Washington Post this week.

Currently, the Advisory Committee is reviewing the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines to begin shaping their recommendations for the USDA and Health and Human Services to consider. They are focused on the healthy population, but only 12 percent of the population is metabolically healthy.1

The open letter was spearheaded by Atkins Nutritionals Inc., a mission-based organization focused on improving global health, and has actively advocated for the Dietary Guidelines to reflect current, quality science.

The letter highlights that, today, 72 percent of Americans have a body mass index (BMI) in the overweight or obese range2 and 52 percent have either diabetes or prediabetes.3   In addition, it highlights that more than 20 percent of all healthcare spending in the U.S. is on obesity-related illness.4 

"We believe that it is critical for the U.S. government to overhaul the U.S. Dietary Guidelines and provide nutrition guidance that uses today's science and promotes healthier eating habits, recognizing a low-carbohydrate eating approach as a viable option for people. Doing this can improve our nation's health and reduce medical costs," said Joseph E. Scalzo, president and chief executive officer, The Simply Good Foods Company. "The Dietary Guidelines have unfortunately taken America down the path of overconsumption of carbohydrates and sugar, resulting in less healthy citizens."

Atkins Nutritionals, a subsidiary of The Simply Good Foods Company, has actively engaged with government officials, health professionals and other key opinion leaders to help increase awareness of the more than 100 clinical studies spanning the past two decades that show the health benefits of a low-carbohydrate eating approach. In addition, the company's nutrition experts have presented at public hearings and submitted public comments, detailing the benefits of reducing carbohydrates.

The letter references the National Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine's (NASEM) consensus study that recommended that the Guidelines address the needs of all Americans, cautioning against a one-size fits all approach.5 Also highlighted within the letter is American Diabetes Association's recent recommendation that in addition to other eating approaches, a low-carbohydrate eating approach can help manage diabetes.6

"The ADA's inclusion of low-carbohydrate eating in its recently published Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes shows how an important health organization is providing such guidance as an option for people battling diabetes," said Colette Heimowitz, M.Sc., vice president, nutrition and education, Atkins Nutritionals, Inc. "All Americans can benefit from Dietary Guidelines that are based on the best, most recent science available, eschew a one-size-fits-all approach, and make meaningful changes in nutrition recommendations."


Araújo J, Cai J, Stevens J. Prevalence of Optimal Metabolic Health in American Adults: National
Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2009-2016. Metabolic Syndrome and Related
Disorders. 2018



Menke A, Casagrande S, Geiss L, Prevalence of and Trends in Diabetes Among Adults in the
United States, 1988-2012. JAMA, 2015



Centers for Disease Control & Prevention



Congressional Budget Office, September 2010



Redesigning the Process for Establishing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. National
Academics of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. September 14, 2017



American Diabetes Association. Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes – 2019. Diabetes Care.
Jan 2019; 42(suppl 1), S50-S51


Source: Atkins Nutritionals Inc.