A brief link here to some criticism of the newest USDA guidelines. I want to highlight two quotes in particular. First:
Although the new guidelines appropriately decrease the emphasis on percentage of calories from fat, they still set 35 percent as the upper limit—a problem, especially given the way that the guidelines are used to set standards for schools and other federal food programs. The cap on fat can distort menus, since it means that a large intake of refined grains is still allowed. And often this cap on fat is wrongly applied to individual foods or meals, so that broccoli with olive oil would be seen as too high in fat, whereas mashed potato with butter would not.
I already complain about fat's bad rap, but this is another point that is worth noting: A high-fat diet might mean that someone is eating a lot of bread and butter or a lot of fast-food cheeseburgers and fries.... but it also might mean that someone is eating a lot of vegetables made flavorful with dressings and oils. This is the easiest way to dump empty calories and eat more nutrient-rich veggies that I know of: swap some of your helpings of grains and starches for an extra helping of veggies, and then give yourself back some calories and flavor in the form of fat on the veggies.
Rediscover buttered steamed carrots, folks. Second:
So what about red meat? Processed meat is clearly unhealthy. The harm caused by processed meat is basically clouding the signal about just how much red meat is optimal. Too many studies have looked at harm from meat without breaking it down enough between processed and unprocessed meat.
A good point -- it has never occurred to me that "processed" and "red" might be confounding variables. Maybe all of the evidence that pork and beef are worse for you than chicken, can be entirely blamed on hot dogs, bacon, and bologna.