DGAC 2015 Recommendations
For the first time, the DGAC is making recommendations that are not based on pressure from the meat industry. This is landmark. Big Agra has historically had WAY too much influence on government recommendations to the public, causing government agencies to switch their recommendations at the last minute due to overwhelming pressure from those industries.
Reduce Meat Consumption, Eat Largely Plant-Based
The 2015 DGAC Report recommends limiting red and processed meats, and sugary foods and drinks. It recommends a diet high in plant-based foods as not only the healthier option, but also the one associated with lower environmental impact! This is huge! This is not just a health-based dietary recommendation, but also an environmentally conscious one!
The meat industry is furious, calling the report’s findings “flawed and nonsensical.”
Sugar is the Devil!
The DGAC has taken a hard line against sugar in this report, linking sugar to excess weight in children and type 2 diabetes. They recommend a tax on soda, making all of those harmful empty calories more expensive so they are less attractive to the general public and to encourage people to make healthier beverage choices.
The DGAC report also recommends making changes to the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program to align them with the Dietary Guidelines to encourage purchase and consumption of healthier foods and discourage unhealthy choices.
I’m a huge fan of this, being a former free-lunch and food-stamps kid myself. Low-income families are often left completely ignorant of nutrition education, and with unhealthy foods being comforting and affordable, it’s no wonder that these families tend to also be the ones with high rates of obesity and diabetes. I grew up in neighborhoods where no one, not the kids or the parents, knew what was actually healthy or how to eat properly, and good whole food was seen as a rich person’s thing, elitist snobbery that had no place in our day-to-day lives. Changing programs that help bring food to the table to make healthy food more attainable can only be a good thing.
Other Assorted Badass-ery
Additional kick-ass recommendations include eliminating sugar-sweetened beverages from schools and reducing unhealthy drinks and foods from public buildings and facilities, putting food labels on the front of packaging and making the labels more comprehensive, and changing the culture in schools, jobs and organizations to make health and healthy activity a top priority, nationwide.
Marion Nestle of Food Politics did a wonderful summary of the 2015 DGAC report, for those interested in more information without having to read the 517 page report (although it is a searchable PDF, so don’t be afraid to look up specific items there!).
Speak Out! Demand Change!
To prevent the USDA and HHS from bending over for the meat and sugar industries, submit your written comments here in support of these new guidelines. Let the government know that we are paying attention and that we will not accept shitty Dietary Guidelines that are influenced by corrupt, self-serving lobbies. You have until April 8, 2015.
I submitted my comment, letting the USDA and HHS know that I have read a summary of the report and, as a tax-paying citizen, I will be furious if the new Dietary Guidelines do not sync up with the DGAC’s recommendations. I strongly encourage you to do the same. Do not think for a second that the meat industry will be quiet about this, let’s show them that we won’t either!