NCBA Comments on 2010 Dietary Guidelines Report
DENVER - NCBA submitted comments last week in reference to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee's (DGAC) report on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
While we share the concern that our nation is facing an obesity crisis, it's important to keep in mind that many Americans are also overfed and undernourished. It's critical that the public has access to consumer-driven, science-based nutrition guidance.
The DGAC's report concludes that good health and vitality is achievable through a total diet approach, which is energy balanced, nutrient dense, and very low in added sugars, solid fats, refined grains and sodium. However, in a departure from the evidence, the Committee translates these conclusions into recommendations to "shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds" and consume "only moderate amounts of lean meat, poultry and eggs."
The scientific evidence simply does not support a recommendation to shift to a more plant-based diet. Americans are already consuming over 70 percent of their calories from plant foods, and the current practice of choosing poor-quality plant foods is likely a contributing factor to overweight. According to the report, "overconsumption of refined grains is a major source of extra calories in the diet" and "Americans may choose animal products as part of their diet based on the body of evidence showing a general lack of relationship between animal protein consumption and selected health outcomes."
We fully support the Committee's recommendations to choose lean meats over higher fat options, and to maintain meat intake amounts as outlined in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. However, the recommendation to "consume only moderate amounts of lean meat, poultry and eggs", implies that Americans need to limit these nutrient dense, high quality protein sources. Based on the Dietary Committee's own evidenced-based findings, there is no need to suggest or imply that Americans further limit their intake of lean meat.
Beef makes significant contributions to the nutritional quality of the American diet relative to the calories it provides (Hiza et al 2007). On average, a lean cut of beef provides only 154 calories, yet it supplies a "good-to-excellent" source of 10 essential nutrients, including many that are often limited in the typical diet like choline and iron. The DGAC clearly acknowledges that lean beef meets the definition for a "nutrient-dense" food, and nutrient density is recognized in the Report as an important component of the American diet. For more information, view the nutritional benefits of beef.