A federal panel came out with its long-awaited dietary guidelines report Thursday, and although this won't be the final say before new guidelines are adopted, the effects still could cascade through the food industry for years to come. Here's a quick look at five industry winners and losers in the report:
WINNER: The egg industry
As long expected, the report drops the previous recommendation that people consume no more than 300 milligrams a day of cholesterol, but the science linking cholesterol-heavy food and actual human blood cholesterol levels isn't strong.
Whole eggs average 187 milligrams of cholesterol, so two eggs in the morning already broke the previous suggested cholesterol limit. But they're also loaded with nutrition and are one of the cheapest available sources of protein.
"There's virtually no association" between cholesterol consumption and blood cholesterol levels, Dr. David Katz, director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, told Time recently. The report backs up that statement.
"Available evidence shows no appreciable relationship between consumption of dietary cholesterol and serum cholesterol," the report states.
LOSER: Refined foods industries
Sugar, processed grains and processed meat products all got called out in the guidelines, which is hardly a surprise. In short, eggs got a break in the report, but bacon did not.
"For conclusions with moderate to strong evidence, higher intake of red and processed meats was identified as detrimental compared to lower intake. Higher consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages as well as refined grains was identified as detrimental in almost all conclusion statements with moderate to strong evidence," the report states.
WINNER: Fruit and vegetable growers
Again, no surprise there. What's interesting, though, is that the report is subtle enough to note that foods that might be good for some might not be good for all — but veggies and fruits got a big thumbs up all across the board.
"Vegetables and fruit are the only characteristics of the diet that were consistently identified in every conclusion statement across the health outcomes," the report states.
LOSER: Beef and pork producers
Excessive red meat consumption again got listed as an issue in the report, and processed meat also took a hit (as previously mentioned), but meat producers also are chapped that the potential benefits of lean meat did not get a bigger spotlight.
"We appreciate the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s (DGAC) recognition of the important role that lean meat can play in a healthy balanced diet, but lean meat’s relegation to a footnote ignores the countless studies and data that the Committee reviewed for the last two years that showed unequivocally that meat and poultry are among the most nutrient dense foods available," North American Meat Institute President and CEO Barry Carpenter said in a statement.
"Nutrient-dense lean meat is a headline, not a footnote," he said.
WINNER/LOSER: Distillers, brewers and winemakers
The report states that alcohol is in the group of foods that "were identified as beneficial characteristics of the diet for some, but not all, outcomes." That's similar to the guidelines adopted five years ago. But lest you think that you should start drinking a bit for the health benefits, the survey notes that even moderate drinking can lead to a host of unintended consequences.
"It is not recommended that anyone begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of potential health benefits, because moderate alcohol intake also is associated with increased risk of violence, drowning, and injuries from falls and motor vehicle crashes," the survey states. Those are perhaps not the concerns you might associate with food guidelines.