To the editor: The new federal dietary guidelines have sparked intense debate because the science isn't settled. ("New Dietary Guidelines spark intense debate among nutrition experts," Jan. 18)
More than politics and industry hijacking the process, respected scientists disagree about the role of saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium. There is much less disagreement about excessive sugar and refined starch, yet federal farm policy promotes poor metabolic health by subsidizing the very crops the food industry uses to manufacture highly refined and processed foods.
Ultimately the dietary guidelines are slow to address what matters most to consumers. Preoccupied with counting calories, members of the public fail to address more critical factors that influence hunger and satiety.
The guidelines send mixed messages. While recommending a diet based on personal and cultural preferences, they too often prescribe how to eat. Consumers deserve better guidance that supports what personally works.
A simple recommendation for people to eat mostly whole foods, grown to regenerate soil ecology and the health of the planet, would do.
Bonnie Modugno, Venice
The writer is a registered dietitian.