Has anyone else been browsing the new dietary guidelines? (There's no new pyramid/diagram yet.) There is a ton of attention paid to plant-based* diets. Which is amazing since the last guidelines barely admitted that some people don't drink milk. There is a section on adapting the guidelines for plant-based diets and another on non-dairy calcium alternatives. The guidelines state over and over again that plant-based diets are adequate, but that there just haven't been enough studies to say anything beyond that.
From the section on translating and integrating the evidence:
1. Reduce the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity of the US population by reducing overall calorie intake and increasing physical activity.
2. Shift food intake patterns to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts, and seeds. In addition, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry, and eggs.
3. Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. In addition, reduce sodium intake and lower intake of refined grains, especially refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fat, and sodium.
4. Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.
There are also lots of mentions about how few people actually eat according to the guidelines anyway, and some discussion about barriers to healthy eating, including:
At present, the food environment--from individual or personal factors to social networks to the physical settings of communities to macro-level sectors of human ecosystems--does not fully support the ability of Americans to achieve dietary targets for food group intakes and may be compromising the health of Americans
*I'm sticking with the term plant-based diets because they often talk about people who get 50% of their protein from plants, vegetarians, and vegans collectively, though they're very clear about the differences between the groups.