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Guide lining America's dinner plate (commentary)Guide lining America's dinner plate (commentary)

The 2015-20 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been met by the usual accolades and furious condemnations

Chuck Jolley 1

January 19, 2016

3 Min Read
Guide lining America's dinner plate (commentary)

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the latest USDA "Sermon on the Mount" issued by the departments of Agriculture and Health & Human Services, was met by the usual accolades and furious condemnations. Every group associated with the food business weighed in with an opinion on the quality of the guidelines. The meat industry gave cautiously reserved ataboys, mostly with a sigh of relief that no outright condemnations of things like the all-American hamburger were part of the document.

The curiously semi-scientific and continuously ox-gored Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) said, "No, we're suing over an excessive number of omelets."


Yeah, like all those two egg and a short stack breakfasts at IHOP are significantly contributing to America's big belly. Here's hoping that one of PCRM's New Year's resolutions was a renewed emphasis on the third word of their puffed up title. They claim they are RESPONSIBLE.  The word is not an acronym for vegetarian. Look that up in your Funk & Wagnall's.

A few weeks from now, when the smoke clears and the report is put on a bookshelf somewhere to never be seen again while it collects dust until the next edition is brought forth, how will the new dietary guideline effect what all of us eat? Will we be eating less? Will that piece of meat at the center of our plates be smaller and will it be there on fewer occasions? Will we do that 5-a-day thing and consume more vegetables?

For the answer, let me ask a few questions. Did you make any New Year's resolutions to eat healthier, be kinder to your spouse and children, exercise more often, or lose that extra 20 lb. you gained over the holidays? How many of those resolutions lasted past lunchtime or International Skeptic's Day?

Sadly..  or happily, if that's how you 'roll', you chubby little devil … New Year's Resolutions and the dietary guidelines have a lot in common.  Both get a lot of lip service; neither are responsible for any real long-term change. At least the guidelines have the good taste to ask us to look at our shortcomings only twice a decade instead of every year.

As for me, I never made it to the gym even though it's less than five minutes from my house. I could never find a parking space close enough to the front door and gym rats give me the creeps, anyway.

At the center of my plate last night was a 12 oz. rib eye and my lunch with friends last week included the biggest, juiciest burger I've seen in a long time.

My resolution for 2016, which I will keep, is to follow this USDA/USHHS recommendation: “For those who eat animal products, the recommendation for the protein foods subgroup of meats, poultry, and eggs can be met by consuming a variety of lean meats, lean poultry, and eggs. Choices within these eating patterns may include processed meats and processed poultry as long as the resulting eating pattern is within limits for sodium, calories from saturated fats and added sugars, and total calories."

The suggestions about serving sizes will be ignored.  I've reviewed them and determined that the feds have confused 'serving size' with 'bite size.' Hopefully that silly typo will be corrected in 2021. I will also refuse to be so anal-retentive that I'll keep a running daily tally of 'sodium, calories for saturated fats and added sugars, and total calories.

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