The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (USDA) 2015 dietary guidelines have created a controversy throughout the country due to the fact that it states that Americans should reduce their intake of red and processed meats. The dietary guidelines are updated every five years in a joint effort by the Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA to encourage people to eat a healthful diet to achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health and prevent disease.
Professor Jule Ann Henstenburg, director of the Nutrition program at La Salle University, said, “Usually, there’s lots of controversy in these guidelines because it’s long been thought that they’re fairly influenced by the food industry.” However, this newest guideline is asking Americans to limit their red meat consumption, which is something that has never before been stated in the guidelines.
Meanwhile, there are new movements taking place that are urging people to stay away from red meats. Meatless Mondays is a non-profit initiative with the message, “Once a week, cut the meat.” The goal of this movement is to reduce meat consumption by 15% for personal health and the health of the planet.
The Meatless Mondays Movement works in conjunction with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. According to their statistics, “Making one hamburger destroys approximately 55 square feet of rainforest.”
“One day off from meat can help sustainability in regard to the planet,” said Henstenburg. She went on to explain, “Eating meat is the most inefficient and resource intensive thing that a lot of us do.”
While there are many people in favor of cutting back on red meat consumption, there are also many opposed. One comment from the dietary guideline’s open forum stated, “As a cattle producer I take great pride in the beef products that I produce for America’s consumers. Today’s beef supply is leaner than ever before with more than 30 cuts of beef recognized as lean by the government’s own standards.”