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