USDA & PCRM Dietary Guidelines
USDA Food Groups
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the federal government's nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.
Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th edition... places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.
This current edition explicitly recommends increasing vegetable and fruit intake, limiting solid fats, and more generally supports the health benefits of plant-based (vegetarian and vegan) diets*. Solid fats are prevalent in animal products.
*Vegetarian/vegan references on pages: ix, 39, 43-45, 49, 50, 52, 53, 81, 82, 92.
PCRM Food Groups
Many of us grew up with the USDA’s old Basic Four food groups, first introduced in 1956. The passage of time has seen an increase in our knowledge about the importance of fiber, the health risks of cholesterol and fats, and the disease-preventive power of many nutrients found exclusively in plant-based foods.
We also have discovered that the plant kingdom provides excellent sources of the nutrients once only associated with meat and dairy products—namely, protein and calcium.
The USDA revised its recommendations with the Food Guide Pyramid, a plan that reduced the prominence of animal products and vegetable fats. But because regular consumption of such foods—even in lower quantities—poses serious health risks, PCRM developed the New Four Food Groups in 1991. This no-cholesterol, low-fat plan supplies all of an average adult’s daily nutritional requirements, including substantial amounts of fiber.
The major killers of Americans—heart disease, cancer, and stroke—have a dramatically lower incidence among people consuming primarily plant-based diets. Weight problems—a contributor to a host of health problems—can also be brought under control by following the New Four Food Group recommendations.