Monday, February 7, 2011

Hello from Washington, DC

I am writing you from my lovely hotel room here in our Nation's Capital. With approximately 23,000 paid lobbyists working in DC during the session, it is a town focused on the latest public policy initiative and up to date on what's new on Capitol Hill.
It is fascinating to ease drop on the conversations at Starbucks or out at dinner. You would have to be living under a rock here not to be aware of all the buzz on Capitol Hill about the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines. This is very exciting for a self-proclaimed health nut and food police! 
You may think what is so important about these Guidelines and you’re not alone. Astonishingly, 60% of Americans do not know what the Guidelines are or their importance!! So why are they important?? Basically, a bunch of super natural smart people in all different areas of the medical, nutrition and public health community come together to make these recommendations every five years on what is considered the most "healthy and disease preventing" way of life. This translates to our legislators as the "gold standard" in prevention to reduce health care cost. Many bills will be drafted using its language and many important government decisions will be made based on the 121 pages of The Dietary Guidelines. The Guidelines impact your daily life more than you could ever imagine!
I figured none of you want to take the time to read 121 pages of nutrition jargon (like I am totally excited about doing!) So I decided I would give you a good summary.
January, 31st marked the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government's evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.

The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include 23 Key Recommendations for the general population and six additional Key Recommendations for specific population groups, such as women who are pregnant. Key Recommendations are the most important messages within the Guidelines in terms of their implications for improving public health.
This edition of the Dietary Guidelines comes at a critical juncture for America’s health and prosperity. By adopting the recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines, Americans can live healthier lives and contribute to a lowering of health-care costs, helping to strengthen America’s long-term economic competitiveness and overall productivity.

USDA and HHS have conducted this latest review of the scientific literature, and have developed and issued the 7th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans in a joint effort that is mandated by Congress. The Guidelines form the basis of nutrition education programs, Federal nutrition assistance programs such as school meals programs and Meals on Wheels programs for seniors, and dietary advice provided by health professionals.

The Dietary Guidelines, based on the most sound scientific information, provide authoritative advice for people 2 years and older about how proper dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.
The Dietary Guidelines aid policymakers in designing and implementing nutrition-related programs. They also provide education and health professionals, such as nutritionists, dietitians, and health educators with a compilation of the latest science-based recommendations.

The newly released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offer a practical roadmap to help people make changes in their eating plans to improve their health, according to the American Dietetic Association.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend shifts in food consumption patterns, encouraging people to eat more of some foods and nutrients and less of others.

The Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more:

· Whole grains

· Vegetables

· Fruits

· Low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages

· Vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean.

· Seafood

And the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend eating less:

· Added sugars

· Solid fats, including trans fats

· Refined grains

· Sodium

Recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines on consumption of sodium and fats are of particular concern because of their links to serious health conditions such as heart disease and hypertension.


The Guidelines maintain their previous recommendation of no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium – about 1 teaspoon of salt – for most people, but now recommend reducing daily consumption of sodium to 1,500 milligrams – about 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt – for people over age 51, African-Americans and those with a history of high blood pressure, kidney problems or diabetes.

Simple ways to reduce sodium:

Prepare food using little salt or fewer high-sodium ingredients. For example, skip using salt in cooking pasta, rice, cereals and vegetables.

Taste food before salting it. Lightly salt food only as needed, not as a habit.

Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in sodium.

Use herbs, spice rubs and fruit juices in cooking in place of salt.

Check food labels comparing like items and choose lower sodium foods.

Also watch for terms like “low sodium,” “sodium-free” and “no added salt.”

Eat fresh, lean meats, poultry, fish, dry and fresh beans and peas, unsalted nuts and eggs, all of which contain less sodium.

     Dietary Fat

The Guidelines recommend people consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

For optimal health, most people should reduce their consumption of solid fats, which are high in trans fats and saturated fats and low in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Solid fats are found in fatty animal-based foods such as well-marbled meat, poultry skin, bacon, sausage, butter and whole milk products or foods made with vegetable oils that have been partially hydrogenated, such as cookies, donuts, pastries and crackers.

In place of solid fats, most fats in the diet should be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated, such as liquid vegetable oils like canola, olive, peanut and soybean and high-fat plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, olives and avocados.

Eating plans should also include foods containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Omega-3s are found in seafood, especially cold-water fish like Atlantic or Pacific mackerel, albacore tuna, salmon, sardines and lake trout. The new Guidelines encourage Americans to consume at least 8 ounces of seafood each week.
The recommendations are intended as an integrated set of advice to achieve an overall healthy eating pattern. To get the full benefit, all Americans should carry out the Dietary Guidelines recommendations in their entirety.
More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next generation Food Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months.
For more information and to read the 2010 Dietary Guidelines go to

RUN Healthy...

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips/reminders. I need to read them over and over to stay on track.

    It seems each time I read your blog I have a new question. I recently read that products that have "soy protein isolate" are dangerous because of the way it's produced with "hexane" (I think hexane was the danger) the article mentioned Clif bars, soy milk, soy products such as chicken patties,ect. Basically, any item that had soy protein isolate in the list of ingredients. Do you have any information on this? As a consumer of all of these products, thinking I was doing something good, now I'm worried.