The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee met Monday for the last time this year after being included in the spending bill passed by Congress, being instructed to focus its work on nutrient and dietary recommendations “based on sound nutrition science” – as opposed to including sustainability and climate change speculations. The panel provides federal nutrition policy recommendations to the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, during the meeting on Monday, the committee indicated its “intention to remove lean beef and reduce red meat consumption from healthful dietary patterns.”
“Despite a large body of strong and consistent evidence supporting lean beef’s role in healthy diets, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee appears to be out of touch with today’s lean meat supply in the retail counter and the 30+ years of nutrition advice showcasing benefits of lean beef,” said Texas medical doctor and cattle producer Dr. Richard Thorpe in a statement. “I am deeply disappointed that the Committee missed this opportunity to positively influence the American diet by blatantly disregarding sound science and removing lean beef from a healthful dietary pattern.”
According to Dr. Thorpe, the committee presented and agreed to evidence showing that there are healthy dietary patterns with red meat intake above current U.S. consumption levels. “Against their own review of the science, the Committee is recommending healthy diets should be lower in red meat than they are today,” said Thorpe. “To recommend that Americans eat less of a heart healthy protein, the only area of the existing guidelines currently consumed within the recommended amounts, demonstrates that this Committee has its own agenda, and it is not guided by the evidence.”
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated every five year and were last issued in 2010. The meetings being held by the committee are in advance of revising the guidance for 2015. The 2010 guidelines emphasize “nutrient-dense foods and beverages—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds.”