What Idaho's Sugar Beet Industry Thinks Of The New National Dietary Guidelines

Jan 13, 2016

Federal health officials recently updated the nation’s dietary guidelines. The cattle industry was able to relax a bit after learning the recommendations didn’t include specifics on cutting back on red meat. But the guidelines – which are updated every five years – did point a finger at sugar. Hwoever, not everyone agrees with the those new limits.

According to John McCreedy, the new recommendation that Americans limit their added sugar intake to 10 percent of their diet, doesn’t look at the whole picture. McCreedy is the president of Amalgamated Sugar Company, which operates three sugar beet factories in Idaho.

“It’s putting one product on the top of the chopping block," says McCreedy, "and not really understanding as a nation – I’m sure the nutritionists do and I’m sure the scientists do – but not really understanding as a nation that it’s a question of total calorie intake and total calorie output."

Sugar beets are one of Idaho’s largest crops. The white and brown sugar derived from the plants can be found in desserts, baked goods and some sodas.

McCreedy is not impressed by the science the guidelines relied on, and says the recommendations are agenda-based. He says there’s a difference between sugar made from sugar beets or sugar cane, and manufactured high fructose corn syrup – but the report doesn’t make that distinction.

Follow reporter Frankie Barnhill on Twitter @FABarnhill

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