Diet Guidelines Hit over Meat for Babies

Nov. 3, 2020
The first-ever federal dietary recommendations for children under age 2 are causing some controversy, primarily for their inclusion of red meat.

The first-ever federal dietary recommendations for children under age 2 are causing some controversy, primarily for their inclusion of red meat.

The guidelines are part of the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, issued by the USDA. They are revised every five years by a committee of about 20 medical and academic specialists in nutrition. This is the first time the guidelines will include advice for babies. This advice includes a weekly portion of “protein foods” consisting of up to 16 ounces of red meat, up to 1.25 ounces of poultry, and “modest amounts” of other protein sources like seafood and eggs.

This recommendation has drawn criticism from advocates for a plant-based diet. “There isn’t scientific evidence to suggest somehow infants would be better off consuming meat, seafood, eggs and dairy,” a spokesperson for the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine told the Wall St. Journal.

Committee members say meat is important because it supplies iron, which is often deficient in a baby’s diet. According to data the committee looked at, more than three-quarters of breast-fed infants between six and 12 months don’t get enough iron.

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