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Dietary Guidelines for Americans: Our kids deserve so much better

This ranch mom is on a mission — to improve what’s served at the center of the plate at public schools, nursing homes, hospitals, daycares and our troops.

Amanda Radke

July 8, 2020

5 Min Read

Earlier this week, I listened to a livestream from the White House, where educational and health professionals talked about how to reopen schools in the fall.

As a parent of two school-aged children, I listened with great interest, trying to gather as much information as possible to prepare myself for what the school year might bring for my preschooler and kindergartener.

What’s ahead is an impossible task. There’s no route that will make everyone happy; that much is certain. Social distancing, masks, online learning, no commingling, no protocols at all — these teachers and administrators cannot win, and I feel for them as they navigate this difficult season.

Masks and COVID-19 talk aside, one thing I noticed that was repeated over and over again was the importance of public schools to be open again, so kids can have access to socialization, learning, physical activity and healthy meals.

While this is a good argument, in theory, you all know my beef about the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). They shape the same “healthy meals” that are delivered to our young people in public schools across the country.
These meals are, without question, inadequate, loaded with carbohydrates and quite limited on protein-rich options, unless they are delivered on a pizza slice or in between a bun.

Related:Trump brings flexibility back to school lunches

Moreover, recent years have seen less recess time and more time in the classroom, so are our nation’s youth truly receiving the nutrient-dense meals and physical activity they deserve for their growing minds and bodies?

Every parent needs to be in this fight to ensure the DGA are based on accurate science and meet the needs of every American, not just the healthy few. Because the reality is that 60% of Americans are afflicted with a nutrition-related disease, and 18.5% of U.S. children ages two to 19 are considered obese.

So this one-size-fits all approach to nutrition is deeply flawed and should be corrected in the newly revised 2020 DGA.

The BEEF team has written on this topic numerous times in recent months. In case you’ve missed previous installments, you can get up to speed here.

What’s important to note now is the DGA Committee is expected to release its expert report next week. To delay this release and allow for more scientific research to be evaluated and considered in these recommendations, the Nutrition Coalition urged all Twitter users to created a “TwitterStorm” on July 7 to raise awareness of this issue and alert the Committee that more work needs to be done in this area.

Related:Secretary Perdue: Please fix the next Dietary Guidelines for Americans

According to the Nutrition Coalition, “Within just a few hours, the TwitterStorm generated overwhelming engagement with more than 5,700 posts by concerned doctors, nutrition professionals and the public who stood up to voice their concerns, reaching more than 1.6 million people and generating nearly 5.8 million impressions.

“With just days left until the release of the final expert report by the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), this TwitterStorm compounds the growing chorus of concerns regarding the DGA’s narrow scope and flawed scientific process. Multiple groups, more than 400 doctors, and a Member of Congress have all urged a delay of this report, to ensure adequate time to review and address the many concerns. 

“Despite these protests, which have been reported by national media, the DGA Committee continues to ignore or exclude large bodies of scientific literature, including all trials on weight loss and virtually all trials on low-carb diets. It continues to focus exclusively on “healthy” Americans while ignoring the science that could help the 60% of Americans with one or more diet-related disease. And the committee continues to use a ‘black-box’ methodology that obscures crucial information about how data is graded and evaluated. All of this runs contrary to recommendations by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, on the steps necessary to upgrade the DGA process so that its recommendations could be ‘trustworthy’ and ‘reliable.’

“Additionally, the public continues to voice their concerns with more than 62,000 public comments submitted to the USDA-HHS when the comment period closed on June 10.”
Although the comment period has closed, you can certainly continue to voice your concerns about this issue on social media.

Another thing I would encourage you to do is submit your comments via a direct letter sent to Congress, USDA and Health and Human Services. The Nutrition Coalition makes it easy for you to do just that.

Click here to get your letter started and sent to folks who need to hear this message, loud and clear:

The DGA fail to reflect the needs of Americans who have obesity-related diseases. They ignore sound science that shows the benefits of low carbohydrate diets that are rich in animal fats and proteins. The Committee is deeply flawed in their process in shaping these nutritional policies. And our nation’s children, the elderly, our military, our hospital patients and many more who are forced to eat based on these guidelines deserve so much better. Our health, prosperity and vitality depend on the Committee getting this right. Please delay the release of these guidelines and consider a more rigorous look at proven information that counters the popular plant-based rhetoric.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.

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