New Dietary Guidelines: Helping You With Plant Foods, Added Sugar; Misses Mark on Meat

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The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans are out and they take a step in the right direction to help you make choices to lower your risk for cancer. Two key pieces of advice–eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of plant foods and keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum. And that could mean fewer cases of cancer associated with poor diet and obesity.2015 Dietary Guidelines_Draft 2[1]

You can put these into practice with our New American Plate model – filling at least 2/3 of your plate with vegetables, legumes, whole grains and fruit, and 1/3 or less with fish, poultry, meat and dairy.

The guidelines also recommend keeping your added sugar to 10 percent or less of your total calories. As we wrote earlier about the nutrition label and sugar, if you follow a 2000 calorie diet, you could have about one cup of fruit yogurt and one small dark chocolate bar. That’s because foods with high amounts of added sugar contribute to overweight and obesity, a cause of 10 cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast and kidney.

Unfortunately, the Dietary Guidelines does not reflect the evidence-based recommendation from the independent expert committee to advise Americans to limit red and processed meat. It is disappointing that industry lobbying efforts succeeded in preventing the clear and simple message that these increase risk for colorectal cancer. AICR research has shown that red and processed meats are convincingly linked to colorectal cancer, and the World Health Organization has also recently established that link. Here’s our recommendation:Red Processed Meat Rec

These guidelines have a major impact in helping kids and older adults have access to a healthy diet. Food choices for school lunches and breakfasts are based on the dietary guidelines, so the limit on added sugar will be a positive step in helping children choose healthier foods. Meal programs in senior centers are also informed by the Dietary Guidelines, offering an opportunity for older adults to receive health-promoting and cancer preventive diets.

Read more on how the new Dietary Guidelines align with cancer prevention recommendations in our news release.






Author: Alice RD

Alice G. Bender, MS, RDN, is the Director of Nutrition Programs at AICR. She helps put the science of cancer prevention into action by providing tips and tools to choose nutritious and delicious foods. Alice has guided thousands of individuals to healthier lives through diet changes and choices.

6 thoughts on “New Dietary Guidelines: Helping You With Plant Foods, Added Sugar; Misses Mark on Meat”

  1. Diet plays an integral part in combating cancer. The processing of foods has made and caused many illnesses. Sugar is a CANCER! We need to go back to living off the land when we planted our own foods and made our own herbs.

  2. I’d like to see A I C R promoting a sound vegetarian or vegan diet as even better for cancer prevention, as many studies have shown the benefits for many years.

  3. For years I’ve been avoiding process meats, and having just a few days of beef A YEAR. I still didn’t escape having colon cancer. Had a diet of mainly fruits and vegetables, lots of nuts, no soda drinks, but quite a bit of dairy. Where did I go wrong?

    1. The Adventist studies may be helpful:

      They say this on colon cancer: “Colon Cancer: The researchers looked at the relationship between diet and colon cancer. They found that individuals who ate beans at least two times a week had a 42 percent lower risk of developing colon cancer than those who said they ate beans less than once a week. They also discovered that individuals who ate flesh foods–defined as meat, fowl, and fish–several times each week, had a somewhat higher risk for colon cancer. On the other hand, those who ate more fiber, defined as indigestible carbohydrates found only in fruits and vegetables, experienced a 40 percent reduction in their risk of colon cancer.”

      Certainly worth replacing dairy with plant milks and soya/tofu to avoid recurrance.

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