An update to the federal government's healthy eating guidelines set for release later this month is expected to urge a reduction in the amount of meats - once considered a dietary staple - in the American diet.
As the Associated Press reports, a panel advising the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recommended Americans adopt eating patterns that contain less meat, furthering a trend from the 2011 guidelines which put more emphasis on plant-based foods. In place of food derived from animals, the government is expected to push for more "fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains."
Studies have shown that a diet high in red meat ups the risk of certain types of cancers - but, as the panel points out, it comes with an environmental toll as well.
Globally, livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. Therefore, a plate filled with more plants is not only healthier for the body, but as the panel notes, it is "associated with lesser environmental impact than the current average US diet."
Kari Hamerschlag, from the group Friends of the Earth, welcomes the possible shift away from meats, telling the AP: "We need to make sure our diets are in alignment with our natural resources and the need to reduce climate change."