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Four-time NBA champion John Salley is urging the U.S government to ‘remove racial bias from its dietary guidelines’.

The former athlete, who played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, and Chicago Bulls, testified before the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services yesterday on behalf of the nonprofit Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM).

He cited evidence showing that ‘dairy products are unnecessary and take a disproportionate health toll on people of color’ and asked authorities to indicate this in the upcoming 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines are expected to be released by the end of the year. They will be based on the Advisory Committee’s recently released scientific report, which recommends that the Guidelines continue to recommend three servings of dairy a day.

But as a letter submitted to the USDA by PCRM said: “The DGAC’s scientific report preserves antiquated, racially-biased dairy-promoting guidelines, despite clear contributions to health problems that take a disproportionate toll in Black Americans and other demographic groups.”

‘A disproportionate rate’

The nearly 500 health care professional signatories – including 300 physicians – cite ‘scientific evidence linking dairy products to heart disease; breast and prostate cancers; and asthma, diseases that Black Americans die from at a disproportionate rate‘.

“The letter also references an American Medical Association resolution that recognizes that lactose intolerance is common among many Americans, especially Black Americans, Asian Americans, and Native Americans, and calls for the Guidelines to indicate that ‘dairy products are optional’,” said PCRM.

Canada

The Physicians Committee’s letter to the USDA and HHS says: “We recommend that U.S. policy follow that of the Government of Canada, which recently updated its nutrition guidelines to acknowledge that dairy consumption is not necessary and demoted dairy products from a food group to an optional protein source.

“We request that you use your full authority to ensure that the finalized 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans eliminate racial biases and provide for good health for all Americans.”

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.