Speak Up Now: Voice Your Interests for the New Dietary Guidelines

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Me giving oral testimony. Click for full video.

Earlier this week, 70+ people – representing interests such as meat, dairy, public health, sugar, vegetarian, spices and sustainability – gathered at the National Institutes of Health to weigh in on what the 2015 Dietary Guidelines should say to Americans about a healthy diet.

I had the opportunity to represent AICR and speak up for guidance that will help Americans more easily make choices to lower their cancer risk. Everyone had 3 minutes to speak directly to experts from USDA and Health and Human Services who will be writing the 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans. You can watch the video here. The Dietary Guidelines (revised every 5 years) are key to how we move forward with dietary advice, and that also affects how food is produced and manufactured in the U.S. Continue reading


How New Dietary Guidelines Report Align with Cancer-Protective Diet

New dietary guidelines may soon include increased emphasis on dietary patterns, fruits and vegetables while limiting added sugars, red meat and sugary beverages, if the recommendations released today from the Advisory Committee’s report are accepted.

The report is comprehensive — 571-pages long — and the American Institute for Cancer Research is cited throughout. You can read the highlights of how the report findings correspond with a cancer-protective diet in our press release.

Overall, the report aligns closely with AICR’s evidence-based Recommendations for Cancer Prevention, which focus on a plant-based diet. In the executive summary of the report:

The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains.

The expert committee also reports on the importance of focusing on eating patterns and foods, as opposed to single nutrients or compounds. As the report states:

These dietary patterns can be achieved in many ways and should be tailored to the individual’s biological and medical needs as well as socio-cultural preferences.

Here at AICR, we have the New American Plate, a flexible way of eating that centers around plant foods. Two-thirds or more of your plate should have fruits, vegetables, whole grains or other plant foods; the rest of your plate has milk, meat, fish or other animal foods. The goal is to consume high amounts of healthful plant foods both for cancer prevention and health, but also to get to/stay a healthy weight.

Yesterday, we wrote about how the report is dropping the longstanding recommendation to limit dietary cholesterol. Here’s how that fits into a cancer-protective diet.

You can go here to download the report and/or the executive summary.

Next comes a public comment period, where there’s also a date for commenting in person. You can submit your comments through their site. And you can also tell us your thoughts about the report in the comments on the blog.

The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report is the scientific foundation for the upcoming Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Released every 5 years, the guidelines become the basis for food, school and nutrition policy.


Less Red and Processed Meat? New Guidelines May Help Reduce Cancer Risk

16939621_sThis year, for the first time, the US Dietary Guidelines committee may recommend that Americans eat less red and processed meat, a key recommendation from AICR for lowering cancer risk. Every five years, the US Dietary Guidelines are updated based on the committee recommendations and they are due out this year.

According to reports from the committee’s most recent discussions, the 2015 nutrition and eating guidelines may also call for Americans to eat more plant foods, like vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains, also an AICR recommendation. Research shows that eating patterns like this – more plant foods and minimal red meat –  can help prevent obesity and chronic diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

These 2015 guidelines may also call for lower sodium and specific limits on added sugars.

If enacted, these recommendations will better align with AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention and could, in the long-term, lead to fewer cancer cases. AICR estimates that about 1/3 of the most common cancer cases every year in the US wouldn’t happen if Americans followed a healthy diet, were physically active every day and maintained a healthy weight.

Guidelines like this will inform dietary advice for individuals, but will also set in motion changes for school lunches and other government food and nutrition programs. Read more about the guidelines at health.gov.