Tell the USDA and Health and Human Services to Include Ultraprocessed Foods, Meat, and Sodium in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Questions.

  • by: Audrey Sanchez
  • recipient: The Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services

In an unprecedented attempt to further influence the eating habits of Americans, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, have predetermined the topics that will be addressed by the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines Committee. By limiting the topics to 80 questions, none of which address the health implications of ultraprocessed foods, meat, and sodium, the USDA/HHS have effectively left out what are arguably the most important nutrition questions to date.

The dietary pattern of the average American is already dangerously imbalanced, as evidenced by the fact over half of the calories consumed by Americans come from ultraprocessed foods and only 1 in 10 people consume the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables. Not to mention the average American consumes 50% more meat and double the amount of sodium recommended as the upper limits in the current 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. Given these facts, it is both unacceptable and dangerous for the committee to purposely ignore leading evidence-based nutrition science pertaining to ultraprocessed foods, meat, and sodium.

Especially given the current state of public health.

Currently, 117 million American adults live with one or more preventable, chronic diet-related disease, and unhealthy dietary patterns are the leading cause of disease, disability, and premature death - accounting for 700,000 deaths annually.

The urgent need for fair, evidence-based dietary guidelines is further illustrated by the fact children are experiencing the consequences of imbalanced dietary patterns earlier than any cohort of children in history. Between 2000-2010 rates of type-2 diabetes in children increased 30%, 1 in 5 children has diet-related high cholesterol, and as a direct result of unhealthy dietary patterns, the current generation of children has a predictable lifespan that is shorter than that of their parents. This is of particular importance given the Dietary Guidelines impact on the Food and Nutrition Services Standards, which of course, dictate the nutritional requirements of meals served in schools.

Clearly, now is not the time to ignore evidence-based nutrition science by excluding questions about ultraprocessed foods, meat, and sodium addressed by the Dietary Guidelines Committee. Now is the time to demand better from the people responsible for the current and future health of millions of Americans.

Tell the Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services to make the health of Americans their first priority, today! Demand the list of topics presented to the Dietary Guidelines Committee include questions about the impact of ultraprocessed foods, meat, and sodium intake.

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