The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) in a closed-door meeting last month approved removal of lean meat from proposed healthy diet recommendations. The advisory group is charged with revising Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years.
Taking exception, NCC wrote to the committee to reinforce poultry’s role in a healthy, balanced diet. “Including meat and poultry in the diet allows consumers to more easily fulfill their nutrient requirements by providing abundant essential amino acids and macronutrients,” wrote Ashley Peterson, Ph.D., NCC vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs. “We recommend that DGAC provides information around portion control and how to choose healthier products as opposed to picking winners and losers in the food pyramid by restricting or completely eliminating nutrient dense foods such as fresh and processed chicken.”
A copy of the letter was sent to: Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture; Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Acting Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary, Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services, U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Peterson also said that it was equally as concerning that the DGAC would pick food production systems for U.S. consumers while, in reality, various food production systems have developed over time to provide consumers with variety and choice in the marketplace.
“Chicken and other lean meats are an integral part of the American diet and the absence of recognition by the DGAC of the role of lean meat as a component of a healthy eating pattern is of great concern.” the letter continues. “The Committee’s decision to omit ‘lean meats’ in a healthy pattern due to lack of definition of ‘lean meat’ amidst rushed deliberations questions the validity of the omission. It also casts an astonishing lack of discernment in reviewing scientific evidence and again calls into question the entirety of the recommendations submitted by the DGAC to the agencies.”
The DGAC’s recommendations are expected to be delivered to the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments later this month and the final guidelines are expected to be released later this year.