Kiwi Patterns

Missing the Real Changes in Dietary Guidelines

Foodminds InfographicA month has passed since the federal government released the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Headlines are still flowing about them at an impressive rate. And yet, for all the ranting, most observers are missing the real changes in dietary guidelines that have come with this edition.

Most of the headlines address rising concern about sugar, less concern about healthy fats, and how the meat industry scored a win and got their way. But the real news is a shift away from individual nutrients and toward healthier patterns of eating.

The meat industry has gotten its say in every single set of dietary guidelines that has ever been issued. Anyone who thinks this is news should consult history and review how the meat industry humbled George McGovern when he tried to lead the way to the first ever set of dietary guidelines.

But despite the meat industry, consumption of red meat has been steadily declining. Interest in plant-based diets is growing as robustly as any trend in the food and nutrition space — and that’s saying something. Likewise, sugar sweetened beverages have been declining. Consumer preference is a powerful force.

So if you look at the actual words in the report (tedious, eh?), the big change is the shift to focus on patterns of eating, instead of individual foods. We know. It’s more fun to fight about sugar and red meat.

But healthy dietary patterns is where the real action lies.

Click here for more from FoodMinds LLC and here for more on the guidelines.

Kiwi Patterns, photograph © Neil Tackaberry / flickr

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February 5, 2016