By Rita Jane Gabbett
Now you see it; now you don’t.
The North American Meat Institute (NAMI) is calling foul over a last-minute, closed-door meeting of a portion of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) that removed lean meat from foods recommended for a healthy diet.
The Dietary Guidelines, which are expected to be finalized next year, will inform nutrition policy in this nation.
During a Dec. 15 open meeting on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, the committee presented a slide made available to Meatingplace that described common components of dietary patterns associated with positive health outcomes as:
- Higher intake of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fish/seafood, legumes, lean meat and nuts
- Moderate intake of alcohol
- Lower consumption of red and processed meat
- Low intake of sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.
After that slide was presented, debate emerged over the definition of lean meat. The committee then recessed for an 80-minute lunch meeting during which a subcommittee agreed to remove “lean meat” from the list of foods that promote health. The full committee then returned and later declared that it had voted to approve as its final recommendations for a healthy dietary pattern, a diet:
- High in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lower-fat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts
- Moderate in alcohol
- Lower in red and processed meats
- Low in added sugars (not more than 10 percent of total energy)
- Low in refined grains
The committee also recommended that, as part of a healthy dietary pattern:
- Saturated fat not exceed 10 percent of total energy (emphasizing substitution of polyunsaturated fats for saturated fats)
- Limiting sodium intake to not more than 2,300 mg per day
- Calories to meet energy needs and to achieve and maintain ideal body weight
“The omission is stunning,” NAMI Vice President for Scientific Affairs Betsy Booren told Meatingplace. “By not including it, they are completely ignoring any nutritional value that lean meat has to the population.”
The move is also a change from the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, which included lean meat as a component of a dietary pattern associated with positive health outcomes. The 2010 guidelines also recommended that women capable of becoming pregnant should consume foods that supply heme iron, i.e. meat and poultry.
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Posted by Jami Howell