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It’s Time for New Dietary Guidelines

Every five years, the USDA and HHS publish “dietary guidelines,” which serve as the basis for Federal food and nutrition education programs. Last week the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee submitted a report with proposed revisions for the 2010 ones. Some hot debate has started over whether these new guidelines are good.

The Committee FINALLY realized that what they recommend doesn’t always translate to what Americans do. So they spent some time figuring out new strategies that might encourage better eating. These include a few that I can get behind…

  • Improving nutritional literacy and cooking skills
  • Increasing nutrition, health and PE programs in schools
  • Creating greater financial incentives to purchase and prepare vegetables and fruits
  • Improving the availability of affordable fresh produce
  • Encouraging the restaurant industry to offer smaller portions and food with less sodium, added sugars and refined grains

Where I start to get a little uncomfortable is with the calorie intake. The Committee recommends total calorie intake for men be between 2,000 to 3,000 calories and 1,600 to 2,400 for women. HELLO! I am a five foot petite woman, if I ate 2,400 calories a day I would be INCREDIBLY unhealthy, not matter how much I worked out.  (Basically, I would have to quit my day job and ONLY work out…all the time.)

AND considering the latest surveys indicate that 36 percent of adults are considered inactive, only 31 percent engage in any leisure time physical activity at all, those calorie recommendations are pretty unrealistic.

Saturated fat and dietary cholesterol also take a beating, despite all the new research that has questioned its role in heart disease.

It makes me wonder, are they even reading any data to make these recommendations?

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