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Doctors and other healthcare providers recently protested outside the USDA, urging it to remove dairy from dietary guidelines.

The USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) are developing the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

These will be based on the recently released Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) scientific report, which was compiled the Committee’s 20 health expert members, and reviews the latest dietary and nutrition research.

Dairy

The report has come under fire from some doctors and organizations for recommending that people consume dairy daily. Despite recommending that Americans should opt for carbohydrate-rich plant-based foods instead of saturated fat-laden red and processed meat, it ignores that dairy products are the leading source of saturated fat in the American diet.

The DGAC’s report says: “Two to three cups of total Dairy foods are recommended for consumption each day; the recommendation is three cups for most age-sex groups, regardless of activity level.”

Dairy products and health

According to the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) – a nonprofit that advocates a plant-based diet – the report ‘fails to address many other health conditions linked to dairy products’.

Members of the Committee took to the streets during the socially-distanced protest to share this message, representing more than 500 health care providers who are calling on the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services to ditch the dairy in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

‘Taking a large toll on health’

According to PCRM, the Dietary Guidelines current recommendation of up to three servings of dairy daily. But ‘dairy is not healthy’ it says, and that recommendation can harm Americans’ health.

The recommendation is particularly harmful to people of color, the organization adds, as studies show that dairy products are linked to heart disease; breast and prostate cancers; and asthma, and these are all diseases that Black Americans die from at a disproportionate rate. This is why PCRM describes the guidelines as racially biased.

Racially biased

Dr. Milton Mills raised this issue while speaking to the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee last year (see video above). The Committee, which is comprised of nationally recognized nutrition and medical researchers, academics, and practitioners, updates the dietary guidelines every five years. It invites experts to speak and share current scientific and medical evidence in nutrition.

According to Dr. Mills, he has seen illness caused by the committee’s guidelines. “The vast majority of people of color in this country are intolerant to the lactose that’s in milk. Yet because they think they have to eat this stuff, they go out, eat it, get sick, and think they have some sort of intestinal problem. When I encourage them to stop eating dairy, their problems clear up,” he said.

“It’s really outrageous to encourage people to eat foods we know will make them sick, particularly when the number one reason advanced for dairy foods is its calcium content. But African American women are genetically protected against getting osteoporosis. So we’re making them sick for no good reason.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.