Doctors, nurses, and dietitians have come together to sign a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services urging them to label dairy products “unnecessary” in the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The letter focuses on the negative health impact dairy products can have on people of color:
Unhealthful foods contribute to a wide range of health problems, many of which take a particular toll in Black and Latinx communities. Federal nutrition policy, including the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, has played a role in exacerbating these disparities.
The move was led by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a nonprofit organization with over 12,000 doctors as members.
While the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee—whose reports the USDA and HHS use to develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans—recently released a scientific report stating that Americans should avoid red and processed meat in favor of more plant-based foods, they did not warn of the unhealthy effects of dairy. PCRM director of nutrition education Susan Levin said:
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee finally got it right by finding that plant-based foods are beneficial for every health condition and that red and processed meat are beneficial for none. But they missed the mark when they failed to warn against dairy products, which are the leading source of saturated fat in the American diet.
A 2018 American Medical Association resolution acknowledges that lactose intolerance is common in the United States—particularly for Black, Asian, and Native Americans. In addition, according to the HHS Office of Minority Health, Black Americans have higher death rates from major diseases, some of which, as the letter to the USDA points out, are associated with dairy, including asthma and certain cancers.
Swapping dairy products for plant-based foods isn’t just better for your health—it is a way to stand up for vulnerable communities and spare countless animals a lifetime of suffering. Learn more by downloading our FREE Vegetarian Starter Guide today.