The USDA is announcing today, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. A bit overdue, once every 5 years the Department of Agriculture modifies its recommendations based on new scientific evidence (and heavy lobbying too). It would seem that the Department of Health and Human Services should be charged with this matter, not the same body that want to promote the sales of as much food as possible.
Unfortunately in the past, the advice has been confusing, to say the least. Will 2010′s advice be any better?
From a quick glance, we liked the fact that the first section is advice on STUFF TO REDUCE from our diet.
You can watch live here…
FOODS AND FOOD COMPONENTS TO REDUCE
• Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children, and the majority of adults.
• Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
• Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.
• Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats.
• Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars. • Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium.
• If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.
FOODS AND NUTRIENTS TO INCREASE
Individuals should meet the following recommendations as part of a healthy eating pattern while staying within their calorie needs.
• Increase vegetable and fruit intake.
• Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas.
• Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
• Increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.6
• Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
• Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.
• Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.
• Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.
• Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.
WHAT WE LIKED
The USDA explicitly said to drink water and not sugary drinks.
The USDA gave a clearly graspable amount for fruit and veg consumption – half a plate.
The USDA said that over 50% of the population should reduce sodium to 1500mg.
WHAT THE USDA could have said and done:
Of the four people fielding questions onstage, not one was a dietitian. Hmn, aren’t RD’s the ones who know best about nutrition. Maybe in 2015?
The USDA really needs to shorten the documents. If Michale Pollan said it in 7 words, and Marion Nestle in 3 sentences, why does the USDA needs pages and pages of documentation to tell us what to eat?
Too much focus on exercise. Yes, it’s important, but the percentage of time spent on this is infinitely higher than on saying don’t eat junk food.
The advice could have been more specific. Instead of “eat less solid fats”, how about – “eat less meat and cheese, and eating more beans and nuts for protein”?
And if the USDA could have announced that it would put its weight behind a change in subsidies from soy and corn to fresh fruits and vegetables…
The USDA 2010 guidelines improved from those of 2005. They bumped up from a D+ to C-. They still need brevity, specific food advice, and less lobbying fingerprints.