The Administration today released an updated edition of dietary guidelines for Americans, finally embracing them more than five years after they were issued by the Carter Administration.
The guidelines, essentially unchanged from the 1980 version, tell Americans to avoid too much fat and cholesterol, sugar, sodium and alcohol and to eat foods with starch and fiber, to eat a variety of foods and to maintain desirable weight.
“Maybe all of us have changed a little bit in our thinking,” Agriculture Secretary John Block said at a news conference. “It’s been an evolutionary process.”
In 1980, Republicans campaigned in the Farm Belt against Carol Tucker Foreman, an assistant agriculture secretary identified with the guidelines.
The second edition of “Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans” was issued after a two-year review by a panel of nine nutrition scientists, some of whom were criticized by consumer groups as being too close to livestock, egg and dairy organizations.
The booklet contains some changes, such as new language favorable to beef and pork that says “meat provides protein, several B vitamins, iron and zinc in important amounts.”
The National Cattlemen’s Assn. and the American Meat Institute both endorsed the reissued guidelines, emphasizing the nutritional value of meat.
Consumer activist Ellen Haas, head of Public Voice for Food and Health Policy, was pleased the guidelines are intact but added that “we are chagrined at the loss of time that could have been spent educating Americans about healthier eating habits and shaping policies that promote nutrition and health.”