Doctors Criticize New Food Guidance System as Unscientific
New System Is Too Weak on the Risks of Meat and Dairy Products; Too Little Emphasis on Vegetarian Choices
WASHINGTON—The government’s new food guidance system does not go nearly far enough to encourage a healthy diet, say nutrition scientists with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its long-awaited Food Guidance System and Symbol in Washington, D.C., this morning.
The system is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the country’s primary source of nutrition advice and the foundation for all government nutrition programs. The Guidelines were revised last year and released this January.
“The new Food Guidance System needs to include stronger cautions about the contribution of meat and dairy products to heart disease and cancer,” says PCRM nutrition director Tim Radak, R.D., Dr.PH. “Recent studies link dairy product consumption to increased risk of prostate and ovarian cancer. Also, meaty diets increase the risk of heart disease, obesity, stroke, and diabetes.
“It’s clear the USDA is still in the pockets of the meat, dairy, and junk-food industries,” says Radak. “It should be encouraging plant-based diets, particularly vegetarian diets, since that diet pattern is associated with the best overall health and excellent weight control.”
PCRM is one of the most vocal critics of USDA nutrition policies. In 2000, PCRM won a major lawsuit against the Department for violating federal law by withholding documents revealing bias among its last Dietary Guidelines advisory panel. Six out of 11 panel members were shown to have links with the meat, dairy, and egg industries.
Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research,and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.