Introduced for the first time in 1980, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans change every 5 years. DGAC (the federal Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) have to analyze once again the development and changes in health and nutrition and what the population consumes and come up with new guidelines for 2015. USDA (the U.S. Department of Agriculture) and HHS (the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) will have to adapt to the new recommendations.
For the first time the federal guidelines recommend avoiding meat and dairy products. These are considered to lead to illness and obesity in America. Instead people should consume more plants. A preliminary report by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee states that a diet rich in plants and which contains fewer animal-based foods is healthier for the organism and is also good for the environment.
According to the guidelines a healthy diet should consist of vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy or dairy products which contain no fat, whole grains, seafood and nuts. Adults should also keep a moderate consumption of alcohol. As long as products which should be avoided are concerned the guidelines mention red or processed meat, refined grains and sugar-sweetened foods and beverages.
The meat industry and officials from countries with an increased level of meat consumption do not agree with this. So these recommendations are not likely to become law. Shalene McNeill of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association said that advising people to remove read meat from their diets has harmful repercussions. Read meat consumption is already decreasing and people are eating more empty calories. This is the cause of obesity according to her.
The recommendations are far from reality. Most Americans do not have such diets. On the contrary, American people’s food choices lead to increased rates of chronic diseases. A usual diet is rich in calories, added sugars, refined grains, sodium and saturated fats. Regarding vegetables, fruit and whole grains, Americans do not consume them very often. “Mixed dishes” provide over a half of the calories intake. Such dished include sandwiches, burgers, tacos, snack foods and sweets, including sugar-sweetened drinks.
The 2015 guidelines were considered daring. Tom Vilsack, the US Secretary of Agriculture, declared that it is their job according to the law to give dietary and nutrition guidelines.
The committee’ job is to help the federal governments establish the RDS (recommended daily allowances) for the diet of the American population. The recommendations will be released later this year.
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