Dietary Guidelines Play Crucial Role for Americans

| August 10, 2020

Op-Ed by Kiah Twisselman

From school nutrition programs and the food we serve our nation’s service members, to the advice dieticians and physicians provide, as the cornerstone for all federal nutrition policy and guidance, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) impacts a large majority of consumers’ eating habits and food purchasing decisions whether they realize it or not. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services are currently in the last stages of developing the 2020-2025 DGAs. On August 11, 2020, I will be delivering oral comments on behalf of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), to share my perspective on the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) Scientific Report. As a sixth generation rancher, I’m proud of our industry’s commitment to producing a safe, affordable and nutritious protein and am excited to participate in this process because I firmly believe beef producers must lead the charge in helping consumers understand how beef can support healthier diets. 

Beef provides essential nutrients identified by the DGAC as critical for health across all life’s ages and stages. Eating high-quality, complete protein foods like beef is an integral way to support metabolic health, whether you are looking to maintain your current healthy lifestyle or make improvements to your overall health. Research shows that beef can support weight loss and maintenance by boosting metabolism, controlling/curbing appetite and helping the body retain muscle while losing fat. I can speak to this firsthand because beef is my favorite health food. 

After 25 years of struggling with my weight, two years ago I began my own journey to better health. Through small life changes, regular exercise, and a healthy diet, I’ve lost more than 125 pounds and built a successful business that empowers others to do the same. Beef delivers big nutrition in a small, calorie-conscious package, and it played a vital role in my own success. 

The DGAs encourage consumers to take control of their diets and health. They also provide an important opportunity to educate them about the wide variety of food items that have been overlooked in the past. Today, thanks to the work of the entire beef supply chain, more than 60 percent beef cuts sold at retail are classified as lean. By naming specific cuts like sirloin steak, top round roast and 95% lean ground beef, and encouraging people to look for “loin” and “round” in the name of lean cuts, government guidelines have the ability to help consumers make good choices about their diet and clear up years of confusion in the marketplace. 

Americans deserve clear, science-driven research and information that leads them to a healthier lifestyle. The science supports beef’s role in a healthy, balanced diet, and so should the 2020-2025 DGAs.  Consumers love eating beef, and it can support their journey toward a healthier diet. I believe the newest iteration of Dietary Guidelines should clearly recognize the benefits of beef and help spell out that fact that lean beef can and should be included as a healthy part of American diets. 

These steps are still within reach for the beef industry, but time is running out and we need cattlemen and cattlewomen to engage in the conversation. The written public comment period on the DGAC’s Scientific Report ends on August 13, 2020 and NCBA is calling on beef producers to submit their comments for consideration. Offering your feedback is easy, simply click here to ensure your voice is heard and the benefits of beef are reinforced in the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

To learn more about Kiah’s health journey visit: