The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) delivered its report to the USDA and Health and Human Services (HHS) late last week and, as expected, took a huge swipe at cutting meat from recommended diets. Lean meats, which have long been recommended as a part of a healthy diet, have been reduced to a footnote in the report, and it is suggested that the intake of processed meats be reduced. The advice on processed meats does not make sense, given the viewpoint on the highly-touted Mediterranean diet. In the Mediterranean diet, hailed for its good nutrition and healthful outcomes, people consume twice as many processed meats as included in the USDA’s food patterns.
The 571-page report will be taken into consideration by both USDA and HHS as they work to develop dietary guidelines for the U.S. This is a process done every 5 years and is meant to educate the public on how to eat healthier. It not only influences consumer decisions, but also will be used to guide Federal nutrition policy, including the $16 billion school lunch program. The new guidelines are expected to be published in late 2015.
The public is slated to have 45 days to comment on the report, however the meat industry is requesting an extension to 120 days to allow time to look at the scientific data used by the committee. It will be interesting to see where this all ends up. There will be a lot of pushback against this report within USDA and on Capitol Hill, as Representatives of Agricultural states, especially in the Midwest, are lining up to fight for their constituents.