UC Food Observer has produced several posts about the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. A committee of scientists (the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee) has completed a report and submitted its recommendations, which are not binding. The report includes recommendations to eat less meat and sugar, and has raised controversy already with its stance on environmental issues. Essentially, the guidelines promote the idea that human and environmental health are linked: eat for the good of the planet.
Nancy Gagliardi has written a brief and incredibly intelligent piece for Forbes that sums up the recommendations and some of the key issues driving the debate.
One of the recommendations made to the committee was put forth by UC’s Nutrition Policy Institute. It didn’t receive a lot of play in the press, but it is incredibly important, because it addresses what Americans should drink. And it’s simple: water. The group has requested that the Guidelines’ MyPlate include a symbol for water in its visual depiction of healthy eating.
Christina Hecht from the Nutrition Policy Institute, who is part of the effort, said this:
“While the momentum is gaining in the understanding that overconsumption of sugary beverages has negative health consequences, our focus at Nutrition Policy Institute is on the advantages of drinking water. Rather than targeting sugar-sweetened beverages, we are bringing forward science-based research on beverages and obesity prevention. That’s what scientists are supposed to do.”
Nancy Gagliardi sums up a fundamental issue driving the dietary guidelines debate, simply and eloquently:
“In a word: cost. The Guidelines drive the economies of a number of industries that are connected to federally-funded programs including children’s nutrition programs and WIC. For example, according to the latest USDA Agricultural Marketing Services Annual Purchase Summary, close to 115 million pounds of beef commodities worth over $300 million, and over 254 million pounds of chicken worth over $260 million were purchased in 2014.”