Update on 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
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Suggested Lead: Americans are not over-consuming beef. The Dietary Guidelines process brings together those who share the common goal of using scientific evidence to improve public health. America’s farmers and ranchers share that same goal which is why they participate in the process by providing the scientific research related beef.
All Americans were able to submit comments to share their perspectives on the most recent dietary guidelines process. In total, more than 1,900 comments from public citizens such as school children, mothers, researchers and members of the food industry were submitted during this process. The beef industry, through efforts funded by your beef checkoff, provided 11 sets of written comments and 2 sets of oral comments.
Dr. Roger Clemens, USC School of Pharmacy, doctoral degree in nutrition and biological chemistry with an expertise in food science, tells us how the 2010 guidelines have changed from previous years.
Clemens 1: “The previous guidelines were focused on a healthy America. The current guidelines focus on an unhealthy America. That’s the major message that we have here. As we look at parts of the dietary guidelines, it’s clear we want less energy intake, more energy output, better selection of plant foods and more dairy and fluid dairy products. And part of the foods -- we have a protein product group, and the protein product fits. We have beef, chicken, the whole poultry and fish, as well as legumes. So we see again if we look at the total picture, lean beef fits into the dietary pattern quite well.” (36 seconds)
The surprising fact is that Americans eat less than 2 oz (1.7 oz) of beef every day, well within Dietary Guidelines recommendations. While the Dietary Guidelines recommend 5.5 oz from the Protein Foods Group daily for the average 2,000 calorie diet, which includes, 3.7 oz daily of Meat/Poultry/Eggs, adults are consuming just 1.7 oz of beef a day.
Dr. Clemens describes how and why America has become unhealthy, and what steps need to be taken to get consumers back on track.
Clemens 2: “There’s a lot of speculation, a lot of theories out there how we became unhealthy. Bottom line – the single message we have here – we’re taking too much energy, we don’t expend enough energy. It’s interesting when we look at how the consumer understands energy – the consumer doesn’t understand energy. The other part we have here in the United States as I put on my public health hat is in fact we have an overabundance of energy available to us. We’re quite fortunate in this country. And so we are grazers – we eat mindlessly. We need to be disciplined in what we do. We have to be disciplined as we exercise. We also have to be disciplined as we eat. We all can contribute to a positive health – the positive health means we need to be disciplined, and right proportions – balance, moderation and variety with appropriate exercise – ultimately everyone can be healthy if we make better choices.” (:47 seconds)
A 3-ounce serving of lean beef is not only an excellent source of six nutrients (protein, zinc, vitamin B12, vitamin B6, niacin, and selenium) and a good source of four nutrients (phosphorous, choline, iron and riboflavin), lean beef on average provides only 154 calories and 2 grams of saturated fat.
Dr. Clemens says beef fits nicely into a healthful diet for improved overall diet quality and positive health outcomes.
Clemens 3: “Beef fits very nicely – actually there’s a whole section on beef and poultry called lean meats. And the lean meats is part of a healthful diet. And we understand that lean beef in this particular case, and a proper portion, fits very nicely surrounded by fruits and vegetables. So we don’t say devoid, eliminate or remove from the diet, but it can be part of a healthful diet. We also realize that beef provides some good nutrients. It’s a great source of protein, obviously, it has some wonderful fatty acids, and also has a rich source of iron. So these are some real positive aspects of the beef products. It’s the size or the proportion that gets every facet of the industry in a negative way.” (42 seconds)
Moving forward, Dr. Clemens makes some suggestions on what the beef industry can do to influence the 2015 guidelines.
Clemens 4: “It’s critical as the industry pursues research in the future and prepares for 2015 that it needs to be put in the scientific literature and peer-reviewed journals. If it doesn’t, it will not get any credibility. The next dietary guidelines will be reviewed by the National Institutes of Health. They don’t have any food scientists. So it’s incumbent upon to do the research and to communicate that research with credible people, and get the consumers to understand that it can be part of a healthful diet.” (26 seconds)
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.