friend of farm animals,
Every five years, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) Departments update the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which serve as a model for healthy eating and food-related public policy in the U.S. After receiving recommendations from an advisory committee, the USDA and HHS draft and publish the final dietary guidelines.
This year, the Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans’ report makes great strides by suggesting that people “shift food intake to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.” However, the guidelines also promote the increased consumption of fat-free and low-fat milk products and seafood.
Far from being healthful, dairy products have been linked to reproductive cancers and an increased risk of osteoporosis. Additionally, 30 to 50 million Americans suffer from the uncomfortable symptoms of lactose intolerance. About 40 percent of white Americans, 50 to 80 percent of Latin Americans, 60 to 80 percent of African Americans, and 95 percent of Asian Americans cannot digest dairy. Clearly, the report should be offering healthy alternatives that don’t make people sick, especially since calcium is readily available from non-dairy sources.
While the report emphasizes a plant-based diet, it also recommends that Americans increase their consumption of seafood and continue to consume lean meats, poultry and eggs. A plant-based diet provides ample sources of protein, without the cholesterol and higher levels of fat found in animal products. Many organizations support a non-animal-based diet to promote health, including the American Dietetic Association and the Mayo Clinic. The 2010 guidelines should recognize that there are healthy, plant-based alternatives to meat, eggs and seafood.
The USDA and HHS are accepting written comments on the report until Thursday, July 15, which means that we only have a few more days to make our voices heard. Please take action today by urging them to include non-dairy sources of calcium and other healthy plant-based foods as alternatives in the guidelines.
Yours in good health,
Allan Kornberg, M.D.
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