A group of doctors have called out ‘racial bias’ in the United States’ dietary guidelines for promoting dairy.
Experts from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) are urging the USDA to rework the document – which aims to guide food choices for the next five years.
It has set out three requests:
- Delete dairy promotions, since dairy products increase cancer risk, while nondairy calcium sources help prevent cancer.
- Avoid equating ‘protein’ with meat, as there are abundant sources of protein without meat’s fat and cholesterol.
- Increase emphasis on plant-based foods, which are associated with reduced risk of obesity, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Increased cancer risk
PCRM states breast cancer death rates are 40 percent higher among Black women compared with white women. Similarly, it says Black men are more likely to get prostate cancer than other men and twice as likely to die from it.
The new guidelines continue to recommend three servings of dairy a day. However, research shows this can increase breast cancer by up to 80 percent.
Moreover, the guidelines ‘follow the meat-industry-friendly practice of giving ‘protein’ its own food group, despite the fact that protein is a nutrient, not a food’.
‘A racially tinged promotion of dairy’
“Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue released the Guidelines too hastily. They need to be pulled back and redrafted,” said Susan Levin, MS, RD, CSSD, director of nutrition education for PCRM.
“The Guidelines maintain a racially tinged promotion of dairy products, which are far less healthful than other calcium sources and have been shown to increase the risk of prostate and breast cancer, both of which are particularly deadly in the Black community, as well as an inappropriate emphasis on meat, rather than healthier foods.”