Concerns echo through the halls of health advocacy groups as industry ties potentially skew U.S. dietary guidelines. Nutrition advice, critics argue, should not be marinated in commercial interests. Echoing these concerns, experts demand untainted, evidence-based dietary recommendations.
A recent report from the nonprofit organization U.S. Right to Know has raised concerns about industry ties influencing U.S. dietary guidelines. The report highlights that a significant number of members on the 2025 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) have financial or other ties to industries with an interest in the guidelines. Specifically, nine out of the 20 experts on the committee had such connections over the past five years, while another four members had potential conflicts of interest with industry actors known for corporate sponsorship and lobbying.
The DGAC, composed of nutrition and public health experts from various universities, is responsible for updating and releasing dietary guidelines every five years, with the next report scheduled for 2025. These guidelines have a substantial impact on public health and nutrition, making it crucial that they are based on objective, science-based advice rather than influenced by industry interests.
The report calls for increased transparency, avoidance of appointing members with high-risk conflicts of interest, extended disclosure coverage periods, the use of more transparent disclosure forms, publishing provisional appointees before their official appointment, and disclosing roles at conflicted nutrition organizations. It also suggests expanding the Physician Payments Sunshine Act to cover nutrition.
The influence of industry on dietary guidelines is a significant concern, and ensuring the guidelines are not compromised by corporate interests is essential to protect public health and nutrition.