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Government Issues New Dietary Guidelines: More Fruits and Vegetables, and more Exercise

separator The Department of Health and Human Services (DHH) has again revised its dietary and lifestyle recommendations for the U.S. population. This time, the guidelines are geared toward disease prevention more than they previously were. They are also more specific about the amounts and types of foods people should eat and avoid, while requiring that people read food labels closely so that they know what foods contain, such as trans fats, high sugar, whole grain, etc.

Many major health groups, such as the American Heart Association and the American Diabetes Association, applaud the new recommendations. But many other experts acknowledge that it takes more work on the part of the consumer to understand the guidelines and really put them into action in their daily lives.

For example, when the guidelines talk about foods to avoid, they’re not specific. It doesn’t say to strictly limit fast food, deli meats, full-fat cheeses and processed foods like pork rinds and cheese doodles. It’s up to the consumer to read the guidelines, which advise against high trans fats and high salt, and then read food labels and come to the conclusion that fast foods and processed snack and salty foods are not good ways to go.

The guidelines also have increased their daily fruit and vegetable recommendations from 5 servings to 9. And they’ve stated that people who want to lose weight should get 60 to 90 minutes of exercise per day.

Consumers need to find out on their own what their food contains and what constitutes a portion. These are the keys to being able to match up their daily intake with the daily recommendations of the DHHS. Read the DHHS’s full report.

Department of Health and Human Services; The New York Times, Health and Fitness Section, “Nine Servings of Fruit and Vegetables?” 18 January 2005.
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