On Oct. 21 we lost former U.S. Sen. George McGovern. Although many will recall his disastrous 1972 loss to Richard Nixon and his subsequent leadership in getting us out of Vietnam, his truly lasting legacy will be his war on hunger and malnutrition.
In 1977, following extensive public hearings, McGovern’s Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs published Dietary Goals for the United States, a precursor to today’s dietary guidelines. It marked the first time that a U.S. government document recommended reduced meat consumption.
Yet, after 35 years of studies linking meat consumption with elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer and other killer diseases, the MyPlate icon, representing USDA’s current dietary guidelines for Americans, recommends vegetables, fruits and grains, but never mentions meat, and shunts dairy off to one side.
And it all started with one brave senator from South Dakota.