The USDA has released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government's evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity, according to a USDA news release.

The new guidelines encourage consumers to expand their protein beyond red meat and include fish, poultry, beans and nuts. The guidelines say consumers should choose seafood “in place of some meat and poultry. ” The new dietary advice is raising concern among livestock producers. 

USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack defended the new guidelines released Monday. “I don't see that this necessarily means a reduction of opportunities for cattle operators and hog producers, poultry at all,” Vilsack said. “We not only have the domestic markets that are important, we also have expanding export markets.”

Vilsack implied that there will be opportunity to expand export sales in developing markets like China.

Pork industry groups issued statements that ignored the recommendation that consumers eat less meat and more seafood and other proteins. “The guidelines show that animal proteins are essential to the diet, as meat provides vital nutrients such as heme iron and vitamin B12 which many Americans lack,” according to the National Pork Board.

Teresa Roof, manager, public relations with NPB, said the guidelines reinforce the role nutrition takes in building healthy lives.  

“Pork, in particular, is a lean, low-calorie, nutrient-rich protein which can help with weight control,” Roof said in a news release. “In fact, recent studies show eating lean meats such as pork can lead to weight loss by reducing hunger sensations, helping people feel full and preserving lean muscle mass."

The guidelines suggest that there is no independent relationship between meat and poultry consumption with body weight. “Although not independently related to body weight, these foods are important sources of nutrients in healthy eating patterns,” according to the guidelines.

But lean meats and poultry reduce intake of natural trans-fatty acids. “Because natural trans fatty acids are present in meat, milk, and milk products, their elimination is not recommended because this could have potential implications for nutrient adequacy,” according to the guidelines.

“The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease,” Vilsack said in a news release. The guidelines include 23 recommendations for the general population and six more for specific populations. 

The government will provide more “consumer-friendly advice and tools,” including an updated version of the Food Pyramid, in the next few months.

Other consumer tips from the USDA on adopting the guidelines include:

•       Enjoy your food, but eat less. 
•       Avoid oversized portions. 
•       Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. 
•       Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk. 
•       Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals — and choose the foods with lower numbers. 
•       Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

Read the guidelines. 

Source: USDA news release, National Pork Board