A federal dietary policy advisory committee on Thursday announced recommendations that “seek a paradigm shift to an environment in which population health is a national priority.” The panel’s recommendations are included in Dietary Guidelines for Americans in 2015, which updates recommendations offered in 2010. The new guidelines stress a need for a cultural change for individuals and communities toward healthier lifestyle choices. The release of the new recommendations kicks off a 45-day comment period, where the food industry, agriculture groups, and public health advocates will weigh in.
The report offers Americans a specific target for change: sugar. The committee says that sugar-sweetened beverages should be replaced with healthier options like water and not drinks with low-calorie sweeteners. However, the report spares coffee and alcoholic drinks and even suggests some benefits from including coffee and alcohol in a dietary program.
The report also adds to earlier guidelines and urges continuing the dietary shift from meat-heavy meals to more plant-based foods to improve health and the environment. The report does not call for the end of meat in U.S. diets, adding, “that no food groups need to be eliminated completely to improve sustainability outcomes over the current status.” But the committee defined a healthy diet as one “lower in red and processed meats; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.”