Sunday, July 11, 2010

Dietary Guidlines Letter to USDA and HHS

Dietary Guidelines
Here's what I wrote before the canned stuff:

First, my own 2 cents.  I would like you to vote for a more plant based guideline.  I would prefer you voted in a suggested Vegan guideline but that might be a long time coming.  There is so much medical documentation regarding health, (or lack of it!!) and the consumption of animal foods that it can only help our society medically, health-wise, and environmentally to advocate a more plant based food guideline.
Please do what's right and not what the influence peddlers in Washington advocate.  Do what's right for America, the planet, and the animals.  Encourage a more plant based diet.  Encourage meatless Mondays...and Tuesdays and to have a meatless meal everyday until we can truly encourage meatless everyday.
And now the boilerplate...
I'm writing to you in reference to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. I was very pleased to learn that the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recommended that the guidelines you produce encourage Americans to "shift food intake to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds." Plant-based diets are linked to lower rates of cancer, ischemic heart disease, and diabetes, as well as lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and body mass indices. As this nation faces an obesity epidemic, encouraging Americans to replace the animal-based foods on their plates, which tend to have high rates of fat and cholesterol, with healthier plant-based alternatives is a great step towards solving our nation's health crisis. 
For these same reasons, I was disappointed that the committee recommended increasing consumption of dairy products and seafood. Dairy products have been linked to high rates of reproductive cancers and osteoporosis and contain high levels of cholesterol. In addition, between 30 and 50 million Americans are living with lactose intolerance, and recommendations for increased dairy consumption do not address their dietary needs. Seafood also has high levels of fat and cholesterol and is unnecessary to meet the protein and dietary needs of Americans. Since leading health and nutrition organizations like the American Dietetic Association and the Mayo Clinic recognize that plant-based diets can meet all the nutritional needs of Americans, I urge you to include non-dairy calcium sources and non-meat protein sources in your dietary guidelines. 

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