By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Tuesday, March 31, Congressman Robert Aderholt (R-Haleyville) released a statement in which he blasted the findings of an Obama Administration panel that claimed, Americans need to change their diet to have a lower carbon footprint, particularly by cutting out red meats.
US Representative Aderholt wrote, “This Administration’s desire to move forward with its policies on the American people continues. On February 19th a panel of so-called nutritional experts decided to issue new nutritional food guidelines; the panel recommended that Americans not eat red meat or at least reduce their consumption of red meat. Many of us feel that the panel did not make this recommendation out of nutritional concern, but rather, out of political concern. It claimed red meat is contributing to Global Warming or Climate Change… or whatever they are calling it this month. Science through the prism of politics is not true science. As Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, please know that I will do what I can to ensure that such ‘expert’ panels stick to their designated tasks to prevent even further government overreach into the lives of Alabamians.”
Rep. Aderholt told Fox News, if they are using federal dollars for a political agenda, that is grounds for cutting funding. Beef cattle farming is a $500 million industry in Alabama. The average Alabama beef cattle farm is just 22 cows.
Many experts called into question the findings of the panel.
Pediatrics Professor and Health Blogger Aaron Carroll wrote in the New York Times, “Americans are more overweight and obese than they pretty much have ever been. There’s also no question that we are eating more meat than in previous eras. But we’ve actually been reducing our red meat consumption for the last decade or so. This hasn’t led to a huge decrease in obesity rates or to arguments from experts that it is the reason for fewer deaths from cardiovascular disease.”
Americans red meat consumption actually peaked at 4.2 grams per day in 1978. Today Americans eat just 3 grams of red meat per day (over a 25 percent decrease). People today eat more chicken, more fish, much more grains (5.9 grams versus 4.2). And the red meat they do eat is leaner than the beef and pork of the 1970s. Americans have actually grown much more obese over this period of time. Our Grandfather’s meat and potatoes diet was certainly not ideal, but replacing that with a bigger serving of chicken alfredo on a big bed of pasta hasn’t resulted in a leaner, healthier population.
The drop in smoking rates has had noticeable benefits in drops in the rates of cardiovascular disease, although some of those expected health benefits have been blunted by rising rates of obesity and diabetes.
Some environmentalists attack meat for the carbon footprint but ignore the sustainability benefit of cattle grazing marginal land to produce food versus plowing up more ground into intensive agriculture.
Congressman Robert Aderholt represents the fourth Congressional District of Alabama.