Right Hooks

For Now, Green Lobby Is Dead Meat in Dietary Debate

You still have the government's blessing to consume meat.

Jordan Candler · Jan. 7, 2016

Every five years, the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services revise nutritional standards for what is considered a balanced diet. The new edition, released Thursday, contains most of what you would expect — a recommendation to drastically reduce artificial sugar intake and consume more fruits, vegetables and grains. But the guidelines retained one surprising element that was thrust to the forefront of the debate last year: Red meat. It all ties back to a controversial proposal that was weighed by a panel of nutritional experts who appear to be covertly working to do the environmental lobby’s bidding. The Hill explains:

The recommendations for what Americans should and shouldn’t be eating … created unprecedented controversy in 2015 when the federally appointed panel of nutritionists that helps draft them considered environmental concerns in recommending that people should eat less meat. The USDA and HHS relented to industry outrage and promised the environment would not be considered, but congressional leaders wanted to be sure, adding language to the year-end $1.1 trillion spending bill requiring the agencies to conduct a ‘comprehensive review’ of the guidelines and the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee within 30 days. Groups in the meat industry were relieved to see that lean meats had ultimately been left in the description of a healthy diet.“

That’s not to say the meat industry was given a free pass. "The guidelines note that there is strong evidence to support that eating less meat, including processed meats, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease,” The Hill adds. Nevertheless, Americans can keep chomping away at modest proportions of red meat with the government’s blessing. But for how long? Writing in The Wall Street Journal in November, Julie Kelly and Jeff Stier discerned how the meat-cancer link was conveniently well-timed and may have been a clever ploy ahead of the Paris climate talks. And it’s possible now that those talks are over and considered successful by most environmentalists that USDA and HHS have a little leverage to back off the pedal for a time. But rest assured, the proposals will be back. After all, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change proposes no less than a 25% reduction in global meat consumption, and maybe up to 75%, arguing that fewer livestock means less methane emissions escaping into the atmosphere — rather ironic considering livestock is nature. The war on meat is a coordinated effort that won’t be easily overcome. On the bright side, the dietary guidelines also put a positive light on caffeine. Which is great news. We’ll need all the coffee we can get to expose behind-the-scenes fraud like this.

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