The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee released Thursday a series of recommendations that may feature in this year’s revamped version of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines. The committee was more focused on fighting obesity, while also endorsing an eco-friendly approach.
Among the most notable recommendations, the panel urged Americans to cut down the added-sugar daily intake, red meat, and salt, while advising them to eat more fresh fruit and vegetables, and fish. The daily dietary cholesterol recommendation was not on this year’s Dietary Guidelines menu since the committee decided that cholesterol contained in foods such as eggs and shrimps posed no real health threat.
The Advisory Committee said that setting a tax on sweetened beverages and sugary snacks was a fairly good idea to discourage Americans from consuming such unhealthy products as U.S. obesity levels continue to surge.
“Higher sugar-sweetened beverage taxes may encourage consumers to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. Using the revenues from the higher sugar-sweetened beverage taxes for nutrition health promotion efforts or to subsidize fruits and vegetables could have public health benefits,”
the advisory panel wrote in its report.
The recommendations also encourage people to eat less red meat and to choose those foods that have a minimum impact on the environment. However, the meat recommendation seemed rather “contradictory” to other health experts.
Shalene McNeill, nutrition researcher at the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association in Washington, noted that the panel recommended lean meats as a “part of a healthy dietary pattern,” but said that people should cut down red meat consumption.
“Lean meat is red meat. It is misleading to conclude that a healthy dietary pattern should be lower in red meat,”
Ms. McNeill argued.
The meat industry is also concerned that a change in the guidelines may discuorage lean meat consumption that was considered healthier than other meats by previous panels.
Barbara Millen, chairwoman of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, said that the panel was more concerned about the obesity epidemics so much of the recommendations will focus on tackling this public health problem. In the U.S., more than 30 percent of adults and 17 percent of children are obese.
The panel also made recommendations for the U.S. school lunch menus and the Women, Infants and Children program, which serves more than 8 million Americans buying groceries from retailers.
The recommendations are now being analyzed by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services that will issue the final draft of the Dietary Guidelines later this year. Experts claim that there weren’t many deviations between what the advisory committee had proposed and the final draft’s recommendations in past years.
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