The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) agrees with the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that obesity is the number one public health concern, and that Americans need to eat more fruits and vegetables.

But NPPC says it is concerned with the committee’s recommendation that Americans consume only “moderate” amounts of lean meat.

NPPC submitted comments recently to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services on recommendations for new dietary guidelines for Americans.

The dietary guidelines serve as the foundation for food policy including the National School Lunch and Breakfast programs, and for nutrition guidance for all Americans for the next five years.

Problems with the American diet stem not from over-consumption of lean meat, which provides key nutrients not available from plant-based proteins and which studies show can aid in weight loss, it is over-consumption of empty calories found in foods filled with sugars and solid fats that provide little nutritional value.

Lean meat is a nutrient-rich source of lean protein with unique traits not provided in plant proteins, NPPC says.

Extensive peer-reviewed research supports a clear role for protein in the form of lean meat, including many pork cuts, as a key part of the solution to the obesity epidemic.

The report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee can be found at http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/DGAs2010-DGACReport.htm.