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NEWS RELEASE January 12, 2005

New Dietary Guidelines Do Little to Stem Rising Rates of Obesity, Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Diet-Related Cancers, Says PCRM

PCRM Nutritionists Available for Interview, Comment

WASHINGTON—New federal Dietary Guidelines issued today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture will not only fail to stem our nation’s rising rates of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer, but are, in fact, guaranteed to make Americans fatter and less healthy, says Neal Barnard, M.D., president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

“The USDA must take the Big Meat, Big Sugar, and Big Dairy industries’ money and influence out of the guidelines process,” said Barnard. “We need to start talking the real problems and real solutions.” Among them:

  • Fatty foods, including meat and dairy products, as well as sugary foods are also high-calorie foods. They contribute to our growing obesity problems and to the rising rates of diabetes.
  • Meat consumption, particularly red meat consumption, increases the risk of colon and other colorectal cancers.
  • Dairy products—milk, yogurt, cheese, and ice cream—up your risk of developing ovarian and prostate cancer.
  • Meat and dairy products, because of their high saturated fat content, make it more likely that you will develop heart disease or suffer from a stroke.
  • Mercury and other toxins contained in the nation’s fish supply are proven carcinogens and teratogens. That is, they cause cancer and birth defects. Their dangers far outweigh the benefits of consuming them for their omega-3 fatty acids as recommended under the new guidelines.
  • Low-fat, high-fiber diets built on whole foods from plant sources—vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and fruit—are the healthiest.
  • The guidelines should specifically recommend Americans avoid meat, dairy, and fish.

Finally, says Barnard, if the government wants to get serious about reducing obesity and the incidence of chronic disease in the United States, it has to offer hard-and-fast recommendations that everyone can understand and follow. “The 2005 guidelines are essentially so vague as to be meaningless,” he says.

Founded in 1985, the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine is a nonprofit health organization that promotes preventive medicine, conducts clinical research, and encourages higher standards for ethics and effectiveness in research.

Media Contact:
Jeanne S. McVey

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