Monday, March 2, 2015

What Should Americans Eat?

By Bill Duesing

With the February release of the "Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee" comes increased attention to the question of what we should eat. This report is used by the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services to issue the guidelines they make every five years for what Americans should eat.

This whole process exposes the great tension between foods that are good for us and foods that are profitable for big food and industrial agriculture - between the health we want and the growth in profits that the food and agriculture industry wants.

The report summed up its recommendations this way:
The U.S. population should be encouraged and guided to consume dietary patterns that are rich in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products and alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. These dietary patterns can be achieved in many ways and should be tailored to the individuals biological and medical needs as well as socio-cultural preferences.

Based on what I've learned about diet, food, health and farming over the decades, these recent recommendations (except perhaps for the low fat dairy part) make sense for both human and environmental health.  There are lots of ways to meet these guidelines, which is another positive step.