Politicians locked us in our homes for months on end, well beyond the initially proposed two-week public period to “flatten the curve.” They put iron fists on churches, restaurants, and small businesses while allowing strip clubs and state-owned alcohol stores to remain open. They’ve even tried to bait us into canceling our standard Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings. To add insult onto injury, some politicians flouted their own rules by going to fancy restaurants like Gov. Gavin Newson (D-Calif.).
But just when you thought the 2020 Nanny State couldn’t get any worse, unelected bureaucrats have targeted men’s consumption of wine, beer, and spirits.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) has advised the federal government to tell men to limit their alcohol intake to just one drink a day. It did so despite having only one study to corroborate this suggested change, even though the committee’s charter mandates that it needs to have the preponderance of science on its side before issuing any recommendations.
This DGAC decision is a clear-cut case of reckless and power-hungry influence-peddling. Before President Trump leaves office, whether it is in 2021 or 2025, he must stop the faux science madness.
The committee referred to studies outside the government’s approved review process in its report to justify its conclusion. That makes the situation even worse.
Checks and balances exist on the process for a reason. Playing outside the regular safeguards and procedures the government created to ensure accountability sets the country up for special interest science, which is not real science.
That the DGAC has flouted standard transparency measures shouldn’t come as a big surprise. After all, this is the same panel that has helped shepherd past administrations’ dubious nutrition recommendations time and time again.
The committee’s recommendations underpinned Michelle Obama’s healthy eating program, which made the juvenile obesity epidemic worse. Its findings on fat, salt, sugar, and red meat consumption have also received significant scrutiny. And no one needs a reminder on the disaster now known as the Food Guide Pyramid, which experts have said has increased fatness and sickness in the U.S.
The pandemic has brought the public’s rocky relationship with scientific experts to the forefront of national discussions. This conversation is certainly a long-overdue one for the country to have. With many news outlets finally sounding alarm bells on this problem, it’s more important than ever to review panels like the DGAC to produce findings that can withstand targeted scrutiny. But it can’t seem to let go of the slapdash status quo.
Contrary to popular belief, the public does take the government’s nutritional recommendations seriously. People know about and make decisions based on the food pyramid even if they don’t know who created it. They’ve heard about and have subconsciously absorbed the recommendations on fats, sugars, and salts, even if they don’t fully understand the logic behind them. The DGAC’s suggestions matter, and for the committee to act so recklessly is as disappointing and harmful as it is irresponsible.
The Trump administration has already sought to improve the process by which the DGAC operates. Now that the committee disrespected the bounds of the system, the administration should reject its recommendations in the coming weeks as it finalizes the Dietary Guidelines. Public health is too significant to throw away so carelessly.
David Williams is president of the Taxpayers Protection Alliance.