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Montana AG Network: Ag reacts to new dietary guidelines

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Posted at 1:38 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 15:38:38-05

Nutrition in America took a major step forward this week with the publication of Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Jointly published by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture and Health and Human Services every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages.

“These guidelines represent many years of hard work and dedication that reflect increased transparency, engagement and robust science-based guidance,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue.

The guidelines focus on four key areas that promote healthy eating:

  • Following a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
  • Customizing & enjoying nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.
  • Focusing on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages from five food groups.
  • Limiting foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limiting alcoholic beverages.

The Montana Grain Growers Association (MGGA) applauded the science-based approach to promote health that are meeting nutrient needs while reducing the risk of chronic disease.

“The consumption of whole grains and enriched refined grain products, like breads, cereals, pasta and even some snacks now, are all part of a good healthy diet,” said MGGA President and Fairfield farmer Mitch Konen. “Montana grain producers are well known for high-quality grains of wheat and barley. We strive and maintain to produce an abundant supply of affordably priced raw materials for the production of healthy food products.”

Cattle and beef producers are also pleased with the recommendations.

Ethan Lane, Vice President of Government Affairs for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, said the guidelines recognize the role of lean beef in a healthy diet across all life stages and ages.

“When asking Americans to make choices based on those efficient foods that give them the nutrition that they need, nothing fits that description better than beef,” said Lane. “You read through what they've recommended here it points a big ole arrow, as far as we're concerned, towards beef as a really efficient source of that nutrition in a great protein choice.”

The Nutrition Coalition said the guidelines fail to represent all Americans though.

“The policy is scoped for disease-prevention only—thereby ignoring the 60% of the population now diagnosed with one or more diet-related disease, including heart disease, obesity, diabetes, etc.,” the collation stated.

For the first time, the dietary guidelines for infants and toddlers recommend feeding only breast milk for at least six months and no added sugar for children under the age of two.

Click here for more information on the new guidelines.