Yesterday, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) hearing welcomed 80 members from a variety of sectors to make public comments in Washington, DC. The DGAC is a group of (purportedly) unbiased nutrition experts that are responsible for creating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans every five years with this year’s group working to create the 2020-2025 guidelines. During the hearing, many attendees urged the DGAC to reduce its recommendations for animal products. “Decades of research have shown that shifting to a plant-based diet provides an array of health benefits in chronic disease prevention and promotes healthy growth at all stages of life, including pregnancy and lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes,” Sherene Chou, a dietitian speaking on behalf of the Plant Based Foods Association said. Olympic cyclist Dotsie Bausch urged the DGAC to completely eliminate the dairy food group calling the dairy industry an oppressive system, a sentiment echoed by Amie Hamlin of the New York-based organization Coalition for Healthy School Food. Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams was also in attendance and urged the DGAC to create guidelines that recommend healthy, plant-based foods to the public. “The Borough President testified at the DGAC hearing because he wanted to tell the story of his personal health journey, in the hopes that it could help affect change in our food policy,” a representative from Adams’ office told VegNews. “As mentioned in his testimony, when it comes to some diseases, it’s not our DNA, it’s our dinner.” Adams first adopted a plant-based diet in 2016 after he was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and lost his eyesight as a result. During his time in office, Adams—who regained his eyesight within three weeks of eschewing animal products—has introduced a wealth of plant-based initiatives, including a plant-based medical program throughout the NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue medical system. The DGAC’s report must be submitted in May 2020.
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