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Lean meat diet recommendation not welcomed

January 9, 2015

4 Min Read
Lean meat diet recommendation not welcomed

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are jointly issued and updated every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The creation of these guidelines is the task of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC). Recommendations the DGAC recently submitted to the secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services are not sitting well with the livestock and meat industries. Those recommendations call for the removal of lean meat from a healthy diet profile.

North American Meat Institute (NAMI) President and CEO Barry Carpenter says “The committee’s removal of nutrient-dense lean meat from a healthy dietary pattern is stunning. The change was made behind closed doors during a lunch break at the final Dec. 15 meeting. Actions made in haste behind closed doors are not rooted in science and do not make good public policy.”

Seeking a balanced diet
Carpenter submitted comments, opposing the DGAC’s decision to eliminate lean meat from diet plans.

NAMI says:

“The removal of lean meat as a component of a healthy eating pattern will be detrimental to the health of the American population. Meat and poultry products play an important role in a healthy, well-balanced diet. Including meat and poultry in the diet allows consumers to more easily fulfill their essential amino acid and nutrient requirements.”

NAMI is the leading voice for the meat and poultry industry.

Read Carpenter’s full comments on behalf of NAMI.

Confirmed bias
The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) also submitted comments to the DGAC, claiming the “move by the DGAC to exclude meat confirms a suspicion NPPC has long had: that the advisory committee is biased against consumption of animal protein and is ignoring the many health benefits lean meat provides.”

NPPC says:

“During the course of its deliberations, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Subcommittee 2 reviewed a significant body of scientific evidence showing both the nutritive value of lean meats to a balanced diet and the preference of the American population to include meat products in its diet. These attributes are certainly true with regard to pork—in addition to being an excellent and economical source of protein, pork is an excellent source of thiamin, selenium, protein, niacin, vitamin B6 and phosphorus and a good source of riboflavin, zinc and potassium. Furthermore, U.S. pork producers have worked diligently over the past several decades to produce a product that is leaner and lower in saturated fat to better serve consumers. Americans of diverse cultural backgrounds recognize this by consistently and consciously incorporating pork into their diets. These attributes — supported by sound scientific evidence — do not appear to be reflected in the subcommittee’s recommendations.

The NPPC also:

“strongly encourages the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to reconsider its Dec. 15 statement that ‘dietary pattern higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet.’ U.S. pork producers take the sustainability of their operations very seriously and work hard on a daily basis to produce a product that is both efficient and environmentally responsible. They are an integral part of the larger agricultural industry, which works cohesively to ensure the availability of a sustainable food supply to the American population. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s suggestion that reducing (if not eliminating) animal-based foods in the American diet will have a positive environmental impact cannot be supported by broad scientific or other evidence.”

The NPPC conducts public-policy outreach on behalf of its 43 affiliated state associations, enhancing opportunities for the success of U.S. pork producers and other industry stakeholders by establishing the U.S. pork industry as a consistent and responsible supplier of high-quality pork to the domestic and world markets.

Read the full NPPC comments here.

Here’s the beef
Amanda Radke, BEEF Daily Blog Editor for BEEF magazine, a sister publication to National Hog Farmer, also took exception to the DGAC recommendations. In her Jan. 6 blog, Radke says the “word is spreading that the advisory panel is pushing harder than ever for people to consume more vegetables, fruits, nuts and whole grains, while cutting out red meat completely from the dinner plate.”

Radke says:

“Frankly, the reasoning behind this move is absurd, and I believe is largely based on preconceived misconceptions, politics, and an irresponsible blind eye to science.

“The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) reasoning to cut red meat is two-fold. First, the committee believes red meat is bad for a healthy lifestyle. Second, they have gone beyond the scope of reviewing nutritional information and have expanded their recommendations based on environmental factors. The committee believes that beef isn’t sustainable and is detrimental to the environment.”

Read Radke’s entire blog

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