Nearly 7,000 comments have swarmed in already to the regulations.gov portal for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.
There is a lot of hand-wringing over the lack of kitchen skills in America, and real concern about obesity and diet-related diseases in the young and old.
There does not seem to be universal agreement about anything (wheat, milk, meat), save the importance of eating fruits and vegetables.
Most who comment realize that fruits and vegetables should be stressed in dietary guidelines.
Here are a few excerpted comments related to that from among the thousands:
- Alissa Schlosberg: I believe we would see incidence and prevalence of chronic diseases decrease significantly if Americans adopted a nutrition pattern based primarily around whole plant foods. Indeed, there is a plethora of research currently available to support this, and I am fully confident that future research will consistently conclude similarly. Please keep this in mind as you work to update the new guidlelines.
- Anita Jimenez: What I have seen work in my efforts in the community are teaching children how to prepare healthier foods and giving them the opportunity to taste them prepared in an appealing way. We are now several generations into lifestyles that don’t include role models in the kitchen. Parents often have the misconception that eating healthy is expensive and time-consuming because they have never been taught otherwise. Food prejudices have arisen and are passed down from parents to children that are not even based on actually tasting foods, resulting in the very limited childhood diet of chicken nuggets, pizza, quesadillas, burgers and fries and other fast foods that are full of added sugar, salt and fat, and which lack necessary vitamins, minerals and fiber. In addition, rising rates of food insecurity means more families relying on food pantries that provide primarily donated packaged foods that lack healthy nutrients are contributing to the more rapid rise in obesity and other diet-related chronic disease in lower socio-economic populations.The Dietary Guidelines should include more resources for families and individuals that need to be educated in a real way, through hands-on opportunities to prepare healthier foods that taste great. This could mean more USDA funding for education, guidelines for food banks/pantries that include elimination of sugary drinks and high fat/sugar/salt offerings and the inclusion of more fresh ingredients. This may also include providing tools that would make home food preparation possible, or partially prepared foods that can be assembled/cooked with limited access to culinary resources.
- Michal McGlone: Although these are only guidelines, many people take it as gospel and follow the diet to the letter. Americans are not a one-size-fits-all people. The guidelines need to emphasize this and make strong suggestions for people on special diets to follow their doctor/nutritionists advice. For far too long we’ve seen a focus on things like starches and grains, when these foods are now known to be very unhealthy for the vast majority of people. More colorful foods need to be included in the diet and there needs to be a vegetarian/vegan guideline for the thousands who follow this diet. The days of packaged, convenient foods needs to be left behind and a return to preparing home-cooked meals should be the focus. Our children are growing up in a society that is reliant on convenience and instant gratification instead of going into our own kitchens and making and cooking real food.
TK: Have a plant! Fruits and vegetables are in a strong position for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines — that much is certain. As for the rest of dietary guidance, who is to say?