The Government Says a Vegan Diet Is Best for the Environment

Naturally the meat people...have a beef with the federal report.

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Last time we heard from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, they were un-vilifying cholesterol. Now, they've gone after bigger fish, except not really because that would be awful for the planet.

The DGAC, a federally appointed panel of nutritionists that sets dietary guidelines, is recommending Americans eat fewer animal-based foods because such a diet would have less of an environmental impact. Naturally, industry groups representing the meat industry...have a beef with the federal report, reports the Hill.

"The same concern would exist if an expert sustainability committee were making nutrition policy recommendations," Betsy Booren, the North American Meat Institute's vice president of scientific affairs, said in a public meeting last week. "It is not appropriate for the person designing a better light bulb to be telling Americans how to make a better sandwich."

In the 571-page report, the DGAC says "the organically grown vegan diet had the lowest estimated impact on resources and ecosystem quality" compared to the average U.S. diet with its reliance on beef, cheese, milk, and seafood. (I mean, we do have a Meat Institute.) But the panel also says not to freak out because they've modeled three different diets for citizens to use as guidelines, and not all of them put the kibosh on burgers.

Later this year, the Agriculture Department and Department of Health and Human Services will use the committee's report to draft its final guidelines, at which point we will find out for sure whether this is really a ploy by Beyoncé to get everyone to subscribe to her 22-day vegan meal plan.

You should also check out:

Say Hello to the "Pegan" Diet

The Vegan Myth

Go Wild: My Month as a Hunter-Gatherer—and How It Affected My Health

Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.