Every sector of the food industry–most of them unhealthy–has something to say about how Americans should eat. But we rarely hear the voices of healthier food companies in shaping the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I organized this new coalition of plant food companies to help fill that void.
Research shows that more consumers are decreasing their meat consumption and turning to plant-based options. Therefore, it’s time for the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (revised every five years) to encourage this trend toward healthy eating. Today, this new food industry coalition submitted a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, in response to the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s report, making these main points:
- We agree with the advisory committee that additional measures are needed to encourage consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.
- We support the advisory committee’s conclusion that the dietary guidelines should include a recommendation to “lower red and processed meats.”
- The Dietary Guidelines for Americans should specifically recommend eating plant protein sources such as legumes, soy foods, wheat gluten, seeds, and nuts, in place of red and processed meats.
- Claims that red meat and processed meats are “nutrient dense” are misleading because they ignore all the harmful components of meat, and the fact that plants are often nutritionally superior.
- We endorse the advisory committee’s recognition of sustainability as an essential component of federal dietary guidance, and that a shift away from animal foods towards a plant-based diet “is more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact.”