Vegans R Us
The federal committee crafting the 2015 “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” features radical nutritionists who favor Americans moving to “plant-based” diets and a vice chair that laughs about sending Ronald McDonald to the guillotine.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is responsible for creating new nutrition standards that are used to create policy at the federal level. The committee will meet for the third time on Friday, and though the group has not yet released an agenda, past meetings have heavily focused on climate change.
During DGAC’s second meeting on Jan. 13, Kate Clancy, a food systems consultant and Senior Fellow in the Minnesota Institute for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Minnesota, was brought to speak on “sustainability.”
“After 30 years of waiting, the fact that this committee is addressing sustainability issues brings me a lot of pleasure,” she began. Clancy went on to advocate that Americans should become vegetarians in order to achieve sustainability in the face of “climate change.”
“What pattern of eating best contributes to food security and the sustainability of land air and water?” Clancy asked. “The simple answer is a plant-based diet.”
“Now, this is not new, this idea of how important plant-based diets are has been around for, gosh, 30-40 years,” she said. “Before that for people who long ago were eating vegetarian.”
Clancy said plant-based diets lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and have a “smaller ecological impact” on “drought, climate change, soil erosion, pesticides and antibiotics in water supplies.”
“In terms of keeping a broader idea of food security in your minds it would be perilous, I would think, for this committee or anybody else to not be taking climate change into account in any of the deliberations about sustainability,” she said.
Clancy said beef production is the “greatest concern.”
Meat production is harmful to the environment because of manure runoff and “methane production by cattle,” she said, which has “a much stronger effect on climate change than carbon dioxide does per unit of methane.”
Following the talk, Dr. Miriam Nelson, a member of the DGAC committee, thanked Clancy for her “really, really wonderful presentation.”
“I think the good news here, in my mind, is that when we look at actually the current dietary guidelines—with the exception of fish, because I think fish is an issue—really we are talking about eating more plants, fewer animals,” she said.