New diet guidelines tell you not only what to eat but what foods are good for the environment

New diet guidelines tell you not only what to eat but what foods are good for the environment

For years, the government has been issuing guidelines about healthy eating choices. Now, a panel that advises the Agriculture Department is ready to recommend that you be told not only what foods are better for your own health, but for the environment as well.

That means that when the latest version of the government’s dietary guidelines comes out, it may push even harder than it has in recent years for people to choose more fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and other plant-based foods — at the expense of meat.

The beef and agriculture industries are crying foul, saying an environmental agenda has no place in what has always been a practical blueprint for a healthy lifestyle.

The advisory panel has been discussing the idea of sustainability in public meetings, indicating that its recommendations, expected early this year, may address the environment. A draft recommendation circulated last month said a sustainable diet helps ensure food access for both the current population and future generations.

A dietary pattern higher in plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is “more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet,” the draft said.

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