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New Dietary Guidelines released.

Former Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson and the former Secretary of Agriculture, Ann Veneman, got together on January 12th to release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.

The sixth edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity. This joint project of HHS and the United State Department of Agriculture (USDA) is the latest of the five-year reviews required by federal law. It is the basis of federal food programs and nutrition education programs and supports the nutrition and physical fitness pillars of President Bush's "HealthierUS Initiative."

"These new Dietary Guidelines represent our best science-based advice to help Americans live healthier and longer lives," Secretary Thompson said. "The report gives action steps to reach achievable goals in weight control, stronger muscles and bones, and balanced nutrition to help prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. Promoting good dietary habits is key to reducing the growing problems of obesity and physical inactivity, and to gaining the health benefits that come from a nutritionally balanced diet."

"The new Dietary Guidelines highlight the principle that Americans should keep their weight within healthful limits and engage in ample physical activity," said Secretary Veneman. "The process we used to develop these recommendations was more rigorous and more transparent than ever before. Taken together, the recommendations will help consumers make smart choices from every food group, get the most nutrition out of the calories consumed and find a balance between eating and physical activity."

The report identified 41 key recommendations, of which 23 are for the general public and 18 for special populations. They were grouped into nine general topics, including adequate nutrients within calorie needs, weight management, physical activity, food groups to encourage, fats, carbohydrates, sodium and potassium, alcoholic beverages and food safety. Food groups benefiting from the new guidelines were whole grains, healthy fats (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids from nuts, fish and vegetable oils), fruits and vegetables and dairy.

The Dietary Guidelines were created to provide health education experts, such as doctors and nutritionists, with a compilation of the latest science-based recommendations. To highlight those points, a consumer-oriented brochure accompanies the 2005 Dietary Guidelines. In addition, USDA's Food Guidance System also will serve as a tool to educate consumers on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Food Guidance System, currently called the Food Guide Pyramid, is undergoing revision and will be released in the spring of 2005. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal (1/27/05), the new geometric figure to take the place of the Food Guide Pyramid may actually take the form of a plate, hourglass or "radiant pyramid."

Notably, dietary supplements were barely mentioned in the guidelines. The only time supplementation was suggested and endorsed was in addressing older adults, who may need more of vitamins B12 and D from fortified foods or dietary supplements. The guidelines cautioned, however, that while dietary supplements may fill a "nutrient gap" in some cases, "nutrient needs should be primarily met through consuming foods." Taking issue with this was David Seckman, executive director and CEO of the National Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA), Washington, D.C. "When it comes to supplements, these guidelines are more ideal than real," he said. "Studies confirm that most Americans don't get adequate nutrition through the foods they eat. The 'nutrient gap' the guidelines refer to is much wider and affects more people than this report would lead you to believe."
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Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2005
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