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March 26, 2015 | 2 minute read

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.

Here’s what I focused on for cancer prevention:

  • advise Americans to reduce how much red and processed meat we eat;
  • advise Americans to limit added sugars in drinks and foods to 5-10% of total calories and
  • promote a variety of plant-based ways of eating such as the Mediterranean style diet.

Everyone represented their interest – red meat producers focused on health benefits of lean red meat and opposed any language about reducing how much red meat we eat. Environmental groups voiced support for considering sustainability of our food supply, and cranberry, soy and lentil reps endorsed the role of their plant foods in a healthful diet.

These interest groups are speaking up. You should too. Give your opinion here on what the Dietary Guidelines should say. And you can read others’ comments as well. The deadline is May 8 – after you comment there, let us know by leaving a comment on this blog.

Your comments to those writing the guidelines are just as important as those of us representing organizations and specific interests. There’s a reason interest groups on all sides are lobbying hard – they know that what is written in those guidelines has real world impact on what Americans eat.

We know Americans want foods that support health, taste good and are high quality. These foods also need to be available and accessible in all schools, neighborhoods and grocery stores. So, please speak up!

For more information on how the advisory committee’s recommendations align with cancer prevention and for their report, read How New Dietary Guidelines Report Align with Cancer Preventive Diet.

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