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Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015

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Comments submitted to the federal government on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

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Dorina Espinoza PhD Comment ID #8804

04/27/2015

Thank you for this opportunity to contribute to the development of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

I work as a University of California Cooperative Extension Youth, Families and Communities Advisor in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, California. In my work I direct staff, conduct research, deliver community nutrition education, sit on the Food Policy Councils in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties, and provide outreach on many subjects related to nutrition. For example, I lead community educators to teach nutrition education (with various funding including EFNEP).

As a central part of our education programs, we interpret and explain the Dietary Guidelines. I know how to work with the English and Spanish speaking public and I understand the importance of the Dietary Guidelines. Because of my work, I have good ideas to offer on how to make the Guidelines better and more readily understood by the populations we serve.

Many of our clients experience adverse health consequences from poor nutrition: overweight and obesity, diabetes, poor oral health and heart disease, to name a few.
Sugary sweetened beverages (SSB) are prevalent, easy to access and culturally familiar – and, as we know, not healthful to consume in quantity. When we teach, it is difficult to counter SSB consumption if we focus only on dairy as an alternate beverage. Dairy is not a familiar or readily available alternative drink for many of our clients; in fact, for many, particularly newcomers, in California, neither is plain water a familiar, trusted or readily available beverage. This is one of the reasons why we need to work to promote water as the best way to quench thirst and an important step to better health.

When I teach about healthy beverages I talk about drinking water. I use a MyPlate graphic to foster understanding of what a healthy meal looks like. It is important to have the DGAs and MyPlate reflect the position of drinking water as a primary beverage to quench thirst.

Please support my efforts by:
1) Using strong language in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines about the importance of choosing water over sugary beverages, recommending water as First for Thirst, and guiding educators and health professionals of all sorts as well as the general public in “Making water a preferred beverage choice. Encourage water as a preferred beverage when thirsty. Make water accessible in public settings, child care facilities, schools, worksites and other community places where beverages are offered.”
http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/04-integration.asp
2) Taking the necessary steps to place a symbol for water on the MyPlate graphic to illustrate water’s place in a healthy diet.

I support this vision stated by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee: “The Nation’s ultimate goal should be neighborhoods and communities where healthy, affordable food and beverages are available to everyone in the United States in multiple settings, where healthy foods rather than unhealthy foods are the likely choice (optimal default), where social norms embrace and support healthy eating, and where children grow up enjoying the taste of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat dairy products and water instead of energy-dense foods with low nutrient density and that are high in refined grains, saturated fats, sodium, and added sugars.”
http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report/09-chapter-4/

Affiliation: Educational Institution: Higher Education Organization: University of California Cooperative Extension
Topic:
  • Chapter D.6: Cross-Cutting Topics of Public Health Importance

Anonymous Comment ID #8803

04/27/2015

I support the sustainability and health recommendations of the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Committee, Two hundred years ago, Thomas Jefferson endorsed meat as a condiment, and as a registered dietitian-nutritionist I agree with that healthful proportion of animal products for a healthful diet--for humans and certainly for our land, water and air. The science is clear that a more plant-centered diet is better for our health and the environment. I urge your support of both people and planet.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Anonymous Comment ID #8802

04/27/2015

I am writing to express my support for the sustainability and health recommendations of the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Committee calling for consumption of less red and processed meat and fewer animal products overall. The science is clear that a more plant-centered, less resource-intensive diet is better for our health and the environment.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Anonymous Comment ID #8800

04/27/2015

I am writing to share my concerns with the report presented to you by the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. 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. The protein foods group is one of the only categories currently consumed within the current dietary guidelines. With that being said, the Advisory Committee’s report is misleading and contradictory of the government’s own data as it states American’s diets should be lower in red meat.
I appreciate the time the Advisory Committee spent reviewing other healthy diets like the Mediterranean style diet – which is higher in red meat levels than current U.S. diets – but to then remove “lean meats” from what the report states as a dietary pattern associated with positive health benefits is inconsistent. This is also contradictory to the 2010 Advisory Committee’s report and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines which included lean meats in a healthy dietary pattern and recognized lean meats as being a nutrient dense food. While I appreciate the footnote the Committee included to recognize the role lean meats can play in a healthy diet, the actual report should emphasize lean meats as part of a healthy diet.
Finally, I do not support the inclusion of topics outside of nutrition and health, like sustainability, being included in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines. The Advisory Committee’s formation of a subcommittee on sustainability and discussion on the topic is outside of the Committee’s scope as set by Congress and outside the committee members’ expertise. The cattle industry has made tremendous improvements in how we raise healthy cattle to provide a safe, nutritious, affordable and abundant beef supply to the world. However, the committee was asked by USDA and HHS to review the latest nutrition and health evidence when drafting their report to the Agencies.
I encourage you and your staff to carefully review the comments you receive during the comment period, review the strength of the scientific evidence the Committee used for its report and ensure the 2015 Dietary Guidelines are not misleading, contradictory or confusing for Americans. If the Guidelines are not based on the most recent, relevant and peer-reviewed literature the integrity of the entire process will continue to be in jeopardy.
In closing please reject the Committee’s recommendation:
1. To exclude “lean meats” from a healthy dietary pattern as this is inconsistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines and the 2015 Advisory Committee’s discussions.
2. To reduce consumption of red meats which is also inconsistent with the government’s consumption data as this is the only food category consumed within the recommended daily values.
3. To include sustainability in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines as this topic is outside the purview of the Advisory Committee and it is not appropriate for the Committee to include such a topic in their recommendation.
I hope you will carefully consider my comments as you write the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans as it is in all of interest that they be based upon a strong science foundation.
Thank you,
Charles Bourland Ph.D

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.2: Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients, and Health Outcomes

Anonymous Comment ID #8801

04/27/2015

I am writing to express my support for the sustainability and health recommendations of the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Committee calling for consumption of less red and processed meat and fewer animal products overall. The science is clear that a more plant-centered, less resource-intensive diet is better for our health and the environment.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Anonymous Comment ID #8799

04/27/2015

I am writing to express my support for the sustainability and health recommendations of the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Committee calling for consumption of less red and processed meat and fewer animal products overall. The science is clear that a more plant-centered, less resource-intensive diet is better for our health and the environment.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Anonymous Comment ID #8798

04/27/2015

I am writing to express my support for the sustainability and health recommendations of the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Committee calling for consumption of less red and processed meat and fewer animal products overall. Though there are powerful, moneyed interests who may claim otherwise, the science is clear that a more plant-centered, less resource-intensive diet is better for our health and the environment.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Vasilis Vasilious Ph.D. Comment ID #8797

04/27/2015

I am a Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health Services at Yale School of Public Health and I would like to comment on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) scientific report’s recommendations on alcohol.

Conducting extensive research and publishing numerous articles on the mechanisms of cellular responses to environmental stress, gene-environment interactions, alcohol toxicity, with focus on the role of aldehyde dehydrogenases, cytochrome P-450s and glutathione in metabolism and alcohol-induced tissue injury, I believe the government has the duty to properly inform the public and the scientific community on references that can be easily understood and used in the design of current and future research projects on alcohol.

All study designs will consider and use standards set by the government in order to obtain reproducible results that can be validated in other populations or settings. Only when scientific based-standard recommendation is used, scientists can evaluate appropriately the effect of alcohol and different health outcomes. Most of the studies use the current definition of a standard drink set by the NIAAA “as 12 fl. oz. of regular beer, 5 fl. oz. of wine, or 1.5 fl. oz. of distilled spirits.”

Precisely because the size of the drinks and the amount of alcohol in different drinks can vary is critical to set up and use a reference point not only for the consumers but also for scientists and epidemiologists in conducting studies that evaluate the effects of a specific amount of alcohol consumed on someone’s body and long term health outcomes. Therefore, it is essential that the amount of alcohol contained in each drink should be maintained in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines.

Defining what is risky or binge drinking is also extremely important for scientists because it will give them tools that could be used to analyze and report on so that the results of their studies can be generalized. Furthermore, public health practitioners need science-based instruments to be used in all their current and future education and prevention programs.

In conclusion, I urge you to have a clearly defined alcohol recommendation in the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, which include the definition of the standard drink and the moderate, heavy and binge drinking.

I appreciate very much your consideration of my recommendation.

Affiliation: Educational Institution: Higher Education Organization: Yale School of Public Health
Topic:
  • Chapter D.2: Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients, and Health Outcomes

Anonymous Comment ID #8796

04/27/2015

I am writing to express my support for the sustainability and health recommendations of the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Committee calling for consumption of less red and processed meat and fewer animal products overall. The science is clear that a more plant-centered, less resource-intensive diet is better for our health and the environment.
If the government is recommending a certain diet, it has to be one that the can be safely ensured for years to come. This is why sustainability is PART of the dietary guidelines, not a separate issue.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety

Anonymous Comment ID #8795

04/27/2015

We'll get you started, but please add your own personal touch.

I am writing to express my support for the sustainability and health recommendations of the 2015 Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Committee calling for consumption of less red and processed meat and fewer animal products overall. The science is clear that a more plant-centered, less resource-intensive diet is better for our health and the environment.

Affiliation: Individual/Professional Organization:
Topic:
  • Chapter D.5: Food Sustainability and Safety
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