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In The News: New Dietary Guidelines Unveiled

By Gina Souders

Tags: In The News, Opinion, Health, School Lunch, Dietary Guidelines,

GinaThe fight against obsesity continues: the Dietary Guidelines for Americans unveiled its new dietary guidelines on Monday, January 31. These guidelines have been re-issued every five years since 1980 by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture. According to their website the guidelines "provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases."

The guideline's seventh edition focuses on balancing calories with physical activity; encourages Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood; and recommends consuming less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars and refined grains.

2-2-2011-french fries
The new guidelines may push for school lunches to limit their French fry servings.
Photo by u m a m i/Courtesy

Here are the highlights from the 112-page document:

• Enjoy your food, but eat less.
• Avoid oversized portions.
• Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
• Compare sodium in foods, like soup, bread and frozen meals, and choose the foods with lower numbers. (Lower sodium with herbal help.)
• Drink water instead of sugary drinks. (Try a rosehip infusion for your daily water intake.)

The guidelines devote two pages to vegetarian and vegan nutrition, describing how this type of lifestyle can help construct one's own healthy diet. A next generation food pyramid will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months.

So what does this mean for you? These guidelines are the blueprint for all federal nutrition programs, including school meals. Although changes are not likely to take effect until 2012, I believe that the promise for change is a step in the right direction. It will be a relief to see French fries replaced with non-starchy fruits and vegetables. It will also be a great to watch the belief that milk is the sole source for calcium be replaced with the healtheir concept that calcium can also be found in a selection of leafy greens and vegetables. (Eat More Calcium-rich Foods.)

What do you think about these Dietary Guidelines for Americans? Are they overly complicated? A push in the right direction? Too little, too late? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!

Read More: New U.S. Dietary Guidelines Emphasize Plant-Based Foods - Huffington Post
Will new dietary guidelines change the way you eat? - The Boston Globe 
New diet guidelines say eat more fruit, less salt - Reuters