Inconsistencies flagged up in USDA Dietary Guidelines report, as lean meat is ommitted

By Georgi Gyton contact

- Last updated on GMT

The NBCA is urging the Secretaries to reject the recommendations on topics outside diet and health
The NBCA is urging the Secretaries to reject the recommendations on topics outside diet and health

Related tags: Red meat, Nutrition

The US’ National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NBCA) has called the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Report inconsistent, and said that in its present form it would offer conflicting dietary advice.

The report, released yesterday (19 February), has been submitted to Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M Burwell and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, and is a recommendation to the Secretaries on the content of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which will be released later this year.

According to the NBCA, the Committee has endorsed the Mediterranean-style diet, which has higher levels of red meat than currently consumed in the US, however it has out left lean meat out of the recommendations for a healthy dietary pattern.

According to the report, "dietary patterns with positive health benefits are described as high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products; lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains".

In a side note, it said that "as lean meats were not consistently defined or handled similarly between studies, they were not identified as a common characteristic across the reviews. However, as demonstrated in the food pattern modeling of the Healthy US-style and Healthy Mediterranean-style patterns, lean meats can be a part of a healthy dietary pattern".

Dr Shalene McNeill, registered dietitian and nutrition scientist at the NBCA, said: "Lean meat is red meat. Today’s beef supply is leaner than ever before with more than 30 cuts of beef recognized as lean by government standards."

Dr Richard Thorpe, Texas medical doctor and cattle producer, added: "It is absurd for the Advisory Committee to suggest that Americans should eat less red meat and focus so heavily on plant-based diets.

"The American diet is already 70 percent plant based and to further emphasize plant-based diets will continue to have unintended consequences. The Advisory Committee got it wrong in the ‘80s advising a diet high in carbs, and look at what that got us – an obesity problem. My colleagues and I commonly encourage people to include lean beef more often for their health, not less."

The NBCA is urging the Secretaries to reject the recommendations on topics outside diet and health, such as sustainability.

However animal welfare and environmental groups have welcomed the new proposals.

Kari Hamerschlag, senior program manager at Friends of the Earth. "By recommending consumption of more plant foods and less meat, these guidelines will encourage people to lessen the huge impact of our diets on our natural resources."

A joint statement from Secretaries Burwell and Vilsack, read: "Now that the advisory committee has completed its recommendations, HHS and USDA will review this advisory report, along with comments from the public — including other experts — and input from other federal agencies as we begin the process of updating the guidelines."

The public is encouraged to view the report and submit any comments, for a period of 45 days after publication (8 April 2015) in the Federal Register.

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