To the satisfaction of former President Clinton and vice Persdent Al Gore (who both became vegans) and their plant-based physicians, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee recently issued its newest recommendations on what Americans should and should not be eating.
The chair of the committee pointed out that the committee outlines three separate diets, with one vegetarian-focused, one Mediterranean, and one American. However, the committee showed a preference for a plant based diet recommentation as it also factored in environmental issues that will help to ensure a healthy food supply for future generations. The Committee concluded that a diet higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is both healthier and better for the environment. In this persepctive, the 571-page report states that:
“….the quality of the diets currently consumed by the U.S. population is suboptimal overall and has major adverse health consequences.”
The committee found a large discrepancy between a healthy diet and the standard American diet:
“On average, the U.S. diet is low in vegetables, fruit, and whole grains, and high in sodium, calories, saturated fat, refined grains, and added sugars.”
THE SAD AND PUBLIC HEALTH
The Committee’s public health findings on the Standard American Diet (SAD) are revealing. Half of American adults have one or more chronic diseases related to poor diet and inactivity. Preventable diseases include cardiovascular disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Nearly one-third of children are overweight or obese, Chronic diseases disproportionately affect low-income communities. Focusing on disease treatment rather than prevention increases and health care costs and reduces overall health
“Quantitative modeling research showed how healthy dietary patterns relate to positive environmental outcomes that improve population food security. Moderate to strong evidence demonstrates that healthy dietary patterns that are higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods are associated with more favorable environmental outcomes (lower greenhouse gas emissions and more favorable land, water, and energy use) than are current U.S. dietary patterns” confirmed the Committee.
As a consequence, the committee had to conclude that a vegan diet had the most potential health and environmental sustainability benefits.
“The organically grown vegan diet also had the lowest estimated impact on resources and ecosystem quality, and the average Italian diet had the greatest projected impact,” according to the report. “Beef was the single food with the greatest projected impact on the environment; other foods estimated to have high impact included cheese, milk, and seafood.”
The committee’s report says people should eat less red and processed meat because it contains saturated fats, which when over-consumed can lead to cardiovascular disease, and instead recommends Americans eat more vegetables and nuts. Furthermore, the Committee noted that the continued SAD system has increased greenhouse gas emissions, land use, water use and energy use while a plant-based diet helps to prevent these excesses.
THE MEAT INDUSTRY IS FURIOUS
The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) is furious, claiming that the vegan recommendations are “flawed” and “nonsensical”. As a result, NAMI launched a change.org petition to urge people to protest the new dietary guidelines. The petition states, “Hot dog, sausage, bacon and salami lovers throughout the land stand together as Americans in favor of a balanced diet that includes meat and poultry of all kinds.”
THE PANEL CALLS FOR A PUBLIC DEBATE UNTIL MAY 8TH 2015
Before finalizing this Report, and setting standards for school lunches, food stamp programs, and other programs for children and pregnant women and hopefully the poor and homeless, the Committee has invited the public to submit written comments until May 8, 2015. These public comments can be submitted via the following link.
THE OPTIMAL LONGEVITY INSTITUTE’S APPRAISAL
Finally, this panel of nutritionists and public health experts were able to extract themselves from big business lobbyists self-serving attempts at drafting the Nation’s laws and public policy recommendations. However, nothing so far shows that the public agents who will turn these recommendations into law will follow the Committee’s recommendations and all the more so that the Committee outlined three type of recommendations.
Furthermore there is an important missing element in the Committee’s “less meat” recommendations. Whatever the animal intake, it has been proven multiple times with hard evidence that moderate wine drinking that accompanies animal food intakes will help to avoid cardiovascular and other diseases, given wine’s blood thinning effect, its brake to cognitive impairment, its aromatase inhibition, its germicide ability and its ability to raise the good cholesterol, the HDL, among other benefits that can be examine in the Wine health Science blog. Be that as it may, if these recommendations are made into law, the health and life spans for many Americans will improve.