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Diet allowances to slim down?

If Americans really are what they eat, there could be a nationwide identity crisis until the National academy of Sciences decides whether it will recommend lowering the levels of some vitamins and minerals needed to maintain health. According to the Sept. 23 New York Times, the Academy's committee on dietary allowances has drafted a report proposing reduction of the recommended dietary allowances for vitamins A, C and B6, magnesium, iron and zinc. The same report calls for an increase in the daily allowance for calcium, the The Times said. The recommended dietary allowances are used to design food stamp and institutional menu programs and to determine nutritional labeling in food processing.

Because of the broad implications, some nutritional experts quoted by The Times were dismayed by the suggested changes. Committee chair Henry Kamin, a professor of biochemistry of Duke University, in Durham, N.C., refused this week to confirm or deny the allowance figures attributed to the committee report by the newspaper. He told SCIENCE NEWS that the report, scheduled for completion in November, is still in the Academy's standard review process. Part of that process is review by the Academy's food and nutrition board. Board chair Kurt J. Isselbacher, chief of the gastroenterology and nutrition unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, called the controversy over the report "premature."

"The point is there is no final report yet, and all the allowances are still under discussion," he said in a telephone interview. "It's conceivable there may be no change, or there may be a lowering or raising of values. We want values that can be defended or justified by the Academy."

The Academy has revised the guidelines every four or five years since they debuted in 1943.
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Title Annotation:draft report proposes reduction of recommended dietary allowances
Author:Edwards, Diane D.
Publication:Science News
Date:Sep 28, 1985
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