September 28, 2021

Make every bite count: Ag groups welcome new dietary guidelines

WASHINGTON — Dairy, egg and meat groups welcomed the new U.S. dietary guidelines for Americans, and for one ag group, the rollout of the guidelines is providing added motivation.

“USDA and HHS deserve praise for once again recognizing just how vital dairy is to the nation’s health and well-being,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producer’s Federation.

For the National Pork Board, the guidelines affirm lean pork’s role, the guidelines also were a reminder.

“While fresh pork is respected by the scientific community as a nutritious source of lean protein, it continues to lag behind other proteins when it comes to consumer perceptions of being ‘good for me and my family,’ according to the ongoing Checkoff-funded At Home Meat Tracker,” said the NPB in a statement about the guidelines.

The National Pork Board added that the group will be rolling out new messaging in 2021 to promote pork as part of a healthy lifestyle.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association welcomed the guidelines.

“Beef is one of Americans’ favorite foods and science consistently shows lean beef can be the cornerstone in a variety of healthy diets,” said Marty Smith, NCBA president.

The Grain Chain, a stakeholder coalition of grain industry interests, including the American Bakers Association, the Grain Foods Foundation, USA Rice, the Wheat Foods Council, the National Association of Wheat Growers, the Wheat Foods Council, the National Pasta Association, the Cereal and Grains Association and others, applauded the guidelines, which did not make major changes to past guidelines.

That included maintaining recommendations for a healthy American adult to consume grain foods, six 1-ounce servings daily, and half of those servings to come from whole grains.

“We are delighted that the nutritional value of both whole and enriched grains in the diet, which is supported by vast scientific research, is acknowledged by the Dietary Guidelines. Grain foods are staples that create the foundation for a healthy and balanced diet,” said Jane DeMarchi, president of the North American Millers Association and a member of the Grain Chain.

The American Egg Board also greeted the guidelines, particularly the recommendation to introduce babies, at around 6 months, to “nutrient-dense complementary foods.”

For the first time, the guidelines include recommendations for infants and toddlers.

“The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans confirm what the science has shown: eggs provide critical nutritional support for brain health, and they play a crucial role in infant development and prenatal health. With 90% of brain growth happening before kindergarten, eggs help make every bite count, especially when babies are just being introduced to solid foods,” said Emily Metz, president and CEO of the American Egg Board.

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released at the end of 2020 and is a joint project of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines are used as the nutritional foundation for federal nutrition programs.

The four guidelines:

1. Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.

2. Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgetary considerations.

3. Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages and stay within calorie limits.

4. Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium and limit alcoholic beverages.

Jeannine Otto

Jeannine Otto

Field Editor