Comment on the USDA guidelines

(Note: The period for comment has passed, but stay tuned for 2025)

It’s that time again.

About every 5 years the Federal Government updates their recommendations for what makes up a healthy diet. These Dietary Guidelines have a long and political history, with serious influence from the various food industries playing a role in the final suggestions. This meant Guidelines not as robust as they could be, worried that they might upset a particular group.

Recently though the Dietary Guidelines seem to be stepping out on their own. A few years ago they encouraged people to reduce their intake of sugar, dairy and other substances by moving these substances to the small end of the Food Pyramid. These changes took a long time to happen since lobbyists for these large industries worked hard to keep the Guidelines from representing current scientific understanding of how these foods effect our overall health.

The pressure from these groups is significant. We forget that incredible amounts of time and money go towards undoing the recommendations initially suggested in the proposal phase.

In fact right now the current proposed guidelines make a recommendation that people should reduce their intake of beef. Sounds like a good suggestion, given the negative impact of too much red meat on our health.

However this stirred a battle with the Beef Industry, who currently wants to remove these suggestions from the new Guidelines. The concern here is twofold: 1) Health guidelines being changed by biased food industries, not through best practices and 2) If they succeed they can use those changes to say their product is safe and recommended.

Not good.

Sadly the Beef Industry is not the only one to do this. The pressure from the Dairy Industry and other agricultural institutions to make changes or reverse current statements will likely not go away anytime soon. Sadly this means the Guidelines become up for grabs, especially if we refuse to say anything or make our voices known.

Thankfully until May 8th you do have a chance to speak your mind.

The Home of the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (they oversee the Guidelines), have an open comment period for the public to share feelings about the guidelines and what should be presented there.

That’s a whole month to go and advocate your thoughts about what you feel essential to be in the guidelines. This is great and your voice can make a difference.

We do have some tips for you to follow so that your suggestions make an impact:

1) Be clear and simple. A 3 page ramble about the inequities of the food industry tends to result in your comments being ignored. They have enough people yelling at them. The point is to help them receive feedback so the Guidelines work.

2) Offer specific support for something being added or taken out. For example: “I support the recommendation that daily intake of sugar be minimized and placed into the smallest part of the food pyramid.” Clear and connected to what they propose. That translates as a Yes or No vote, which ends up making a difference.

3) Email, Fax or Phone your comments in. Stay away from writing a letter. (Does anyone even do that any more?)

Alright. Get commenting. Go check out the website HERE and speak your truth.

You can make a difference and make sure that the Guidelines used for the whole country present a balanced and supportive diet. A diet based on what we know is true based on research, evidence and wisdom around health. Guidelines that represent industry desires just results in a diet that serves the industry. Our health is more important.

Do you know what you want to say? Share with us in the comment section and what you let the government know. Help us all stay inspired!

Until next time, take good care.

To Your Health

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