USDA Releases New Dietary Guidelines: Lean Meat OK

11810375806_d4df6709e9_oThe USDA and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The good news: lean meats are still part of a healthy eating pattern.

Healthy eating patterns are the main focus of the guidelines. “By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes more manageable,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell, in a press release. “The Dietary Guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.”

Meat industry advocates have been battling the prospect of lowered meat intake recommendations for years. Those battles have largely been waged on the nutritional health front.

“We are pleased to see that the final guidelines recommend lean meat as part of a nutritious diet,” said Chris Young, executive director of the American Association of Meat Processors (AAMP). “Reducing the amount of meat consumption could have had a huge impact on federal feeding programs as well as affect the millions of Americans who consume meat as part of their diet.”

The 2015 guidelines reverse previous guidance on the dangers of dietary cholesterol and add strict new advice on sugars. The guidelines suggest that women aged 19-30 on a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet eat 46 grams of protein a day, while men the same age eat 56 grams of protein. That’s identical to the 2010 recommendations.

The report states, “For those who eat animal products, the recommendation for the protein foods subgroup of meats, poultry, and eggs can be met by consuming a variety of lean meats, lean poultry, and eggs. Choices within these eating patterns may include processed meats and processed poultry as long as the resulting eating pattern is within limits for sodium, calories from saturated fats and added sugars, and total calories.”

The full 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans can be found online http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.