Nutrition panel tells all
The U.S. Advisory Panel on Dietary Guidelines has finally mustered the courage to recommend that Americans eat less meat and dairy products. And not just to lower our risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and obesity, but also because it slows the rate of climate change, which has its own devastating consequences.
The 572-page report released Feb. 19 notes that half of all Americans have preventable diet-related chronic diseases and that two-thirds of adults and one-third of children are overweight. It concludes that a diet higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and associated with lesser environmental impact than the current U.S. diet.
The 1977 recommendation that Americans eat less meat, a recommendation made by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, was quashed by the meat industry, and subsequent dietary guidelines panels have been very cautious. The 2010 dietary guidelines panel merely shoved meat and dairy off the official MyPlate icon, representing the U.S. Dietary Guidelines.
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Though the experts have now told the truth, our family’s health is still up to us. Fortunately, local supermarkets offer a variety of meat and dairy-free options, and the Internet has lots of advice on vegan recipes and transition tips.