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Posted at 10:00 AM ET, 01/31/2011

New federal dietary guidelines released

By Rob Stein

Federal officials Monday released the government's latest advice to Americans on what they should be eating, including specific new recommendations to limit salt intake.

The departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services jointly issued the first updated version of the federal government's official Dietary Guidelines for Americans in five years. They are required by federal law to be updated every five years.

Although most people have probably never read the guidelines, they have a broad impact on Americans' lives.They dictate what is served to students for breakfast and lunch. They influence the advice people on food stamps get for what to buy. They affect the information on nutrition labels that are ubiquitous at the supermarket. And they play a key role in the education materials that people get in community centers, doctors' offices and hospitals.

Because they are so influential, they are typically the focus of intense political lobbying every five years when they undergo official revisions. And this time around is no exception. Proposals to issue strict new warnings about salt intake have come under heavy criticism, for example.

But with so many Americans overweight and obese, experts are hoping the newest version might finally help get the message across about how to eat a more healthful diet.

"The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis we can no longer ignore," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a statement released with the new guidelines. "These new and improved dietary recommendations give individuals the information to make thoughtful choices of healthier foods in the right portions and to complement those choices with physical activity. The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of development diet-related chronic disease. Improving our eating habits is not only good for every individuals and family, but also for our country."

The new guidelines include 23 specific recommendations for the general population and six recommendations for specific groups such as pregnant women.

Among the recommendations are:

-- No one should consume more than 2,300 milligrams of salt per day. Those who are age 51 or older and those who are African American or have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. This second group accounts for about half the U.S. population.

-- Everyone should consume less than 10 percent of their calories from saturated fats by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

-- Everyone should consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol each day.

-- Minimize trans fatty acid consumption by limiting foods that contain synthetic trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils.

-- Reduce calories from solid fats and sugars added to food.

-- Alcohol should be consumed only in moderation, which means up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

-- Eat more fruits and vegetables. A good rule of thumb is that half the food on your plate should be fruits and vegetables.

-- Consume more fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as yogurt and cheese.

-- Consume more seafood and replace some meat and poultry with seafood. Breastfeeding women should consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types. But breast-feeding women should limit their intake of white tuna to 6 ounces per week because of its high mercury content and not eat tilefish, shark, swordfish and king mackerel at all for the same reason.

"Helping Americans incorporate these guidelines into their everyday lives is important to improving the overall health of the American people," said Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius in a written statement. "The new Dietary Guidelines provide concrete action steps to help people live healthier, more physically active and longer lives."

The guidelines were prepared by a special committee of experts that conducted an exhaustive review of the scientific literature about diet, exercise and health, as well as hundreds of public comments and testimony at a series of public meetings.

By Rob Stein  | January 31, 2011; 10:00 AM ET
Categories:  Dietary Guidelines, Family Health, General Health, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity, School Nutrition  
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Comments

How about Personal Guidelines instead of the Governments…you know…where the citizens get to make their own choice…oh wait…I forgot…this is the USA.

Posted by: snowbucks | January 31, 2011 11:41 AM | Report abuse

I don't usually comment on articles, especially not to criticize, but this article has a lot of grammatical errors.

Posted by: mcdonamk | January 31, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Snowbucks, many of us appreciate this information, since we're not really capable of doing the needed research. The Federal government has been releasing nutrition guidance since 1894 without imposing any restrictions except banning dangerous and contaminated foods. What on earth makes you think you can't still make your own choices about what you eat?

Posted by: carlaclaws | January 31, 2011 11:49 AM | Report abuse

Snowbucks, many of us appreciate this information, since we're not really capable of doing the needed research. The Federal government has been releasing nutrition guidance since 1894 without imposing any restrictions except banning clearly dangerous and contaminated foods. What on earth makes you think you can't still make your own choices about what you eat? Heck, if you want contaminated food so badly, you can still culture it in the privacy of your home.

Posted by: carlaclaws | January 31, 2011 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Want to reduce the US deficit. Tax unnecessary salt in food. You'll raise trillions and lower health care costs by the same. For you right wing guys, get a shovel to add salt to your food. It's a freedom you still have.

Posted by: unoiamrite | January 31, 2011 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Joel Furhman has a more sensible food pyramid in "Eat Right America", with the top category being fruits and vegetables, beans and legumes, then whole grains and starchy vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, fish, non dairy and wild meat or fowl, with the lowest amounts being red meat, refined grains, oils and sweets. If you do eat seafood, you can get a list of better choices from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. If you do eat red meat or chicken, the animals and you are better off if you eat organic and sustainably raised meat. If you do a little research, the planet and your health will be much better off.
http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/download.aspx

Posted by: tootsie11 | January 31, 2011 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Salt can never be regulated if you don't buy processed food. Health care on the other hand may be a black market commodity in the near future.

Posted by: Straightline | January 31, 2011 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Why anyone trusts information put out by the USDA is a mystery to me. They're reason for existing is to promote the Agribusinesses, not to keep Americans healthy. If that was the case, they'd be talking about 90% of your food being fresh leafy greens and fruits - all organic (NO pesticides), no milk unless it's locally produced from pasture raised animals, and the same for meat and egg products.

Don't even get me started on basing your diet on grains - as in the "food guide pyramid" which is designed to support the grain farmers and meat and dairy councils.

Get real people... You've been listening to these guys for years, and you just keep getting fatter and sicker.

Posted by: ktsmom9 | January 31, 2011 12:28 PM | Report abuse

Snowbucks....personal guidelines have lead to disease and obesity that is costing all of us billons in health care dollars....I am all for personal choices, but education about healthy choices is a great idea, just extrapolate and go organic.

Posted by: tootsie11 | January 31, 2011 12:39 PM | Report abuse

ktsmom9 wrote: Why anyone trusts information put out by the USDA is a mystery to me...Get real people... You've been listening to these guys for years, and you just keep getting fatter and sicker.
-------------------
Another smart lady. These should be the last people you listen to about what is a healthy diet. Are we as a society healthier after listening to the government propaganda put out the last 20 years? Of course not. So don't listen and take control of your own lives and health.

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | January 31, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic... As Americans reach titanic proportions, the entire base of the pyramid is still unchanged: carbs! Carbs=fat.

Grains, potatos, refined carbs are the problem, but it is cheaper for food processors and restaurants to serve up pasta, rice, potatoes, refined carbs and sugars than real protein and veggies.

By the way, red meat is not the problem, it's what cows are fed--feed them grain and the good fats vanish, replaced by bad fats; feed them grass and you get healthy beef rich in Omega 3. Go local, organic, and reject genetically-modified, hormone, anti-biotic and other alterations.

Posted by: webmaster12 | January 31, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Just rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic... As Americans reach titanic proportions, the entire base of the pyramid is still unchanged: carbs! Carbs=fat.

Grains, potatos, refined carbs are the problem, but it is cheaper for food processors and restaurants to serve up pasta, rice, potatoes, refined carbs and sugars than real protein and veggies.

By the way, red meat is not the problem, it's what cows are fed--feed them grain and the good fats vanish, replaced by bad fats; feed them grass and you get healthy beef rich in Omega 3. Go local, organic, and reject genetically-modified, hormone, anti-biotic and other alterations.

Posted by: webmaster12 | January 31, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

snowbucks
How about Personal Guidelines instead of the Governments…you know…where the citizens get to make their own choice…oh wait…I forgot…this is the USA.
-----------

Do you know the difference between a guideline and a mandate, doofus? Go out and by a giant cattle-sized salt lick and eat one for breakfast everyday, right after you chain smoke a carton of Marlborough Reds, and wipe your butt with Bisphenol-A soaked toilet paper, if that's what you want to do. No one is stopping you. United States Recommended Daily Allowances (USRDA) is a RECOMMENDATION, if you want to ignore the advice, then ignore it. You're free to be as stupid as you want to be.

Posted by: grantmh | January 31, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

The Dietary Guidelines have been failing us for 30 years, why stop now?

http://www.gnolls.org/1086/the-lipid-hypothesis-has-officially-failed-part-1-of-many/

Posted by: chris_wiz | January 31, 2011 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I am going to eat whatever I want, where ever I can, and at any damn time I feel like it.

Posted by: stinkingtuna | January 31, 2011 1:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure the guidelines refer to sodium intake, not salt. Yes, salt is made of sodium, but sodium appears naturally in some foods, before adding any salt. It's misleading to talk in terms of salt. Product nutrition information will cite sodium amounts, not salt.

Posted by: watsond25 | January 31, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Cue Sarah Palin to start whining about how this is "goverment interference" in our lives, how it's a "danger to our very liberty," and start handing out "freedom potato chips" in 3...2...1...

Posted by: veggiac | January 31, 2011 1:20 PM | Report abuse

Interesting....

Seeing that two magazines I commonly read recommend wholly different approaches, such as:
using whole milk and other dairy products, but in moderations; limit fruits, but lot's of leafy and cruciferous vegatables; eating meat, but being sure that it came from a family farm (as opposed to the farm factories that Congress loves so much); limit grains; stop counting calories; Ignore the "lipid therory" and eat saturated fats (supported in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition), etc.

Wonder if these "recommendations" come from the same people that gave us global warming? Perhaps we should write in to law NOT that dietary and other guidelines be updated every so many years, but that these so-called "scientists" that make up this crap fully disclose every financial investment, relationship, and potential job offer for this year, and the past and future 20 years, before we accept what they say as scientific and true.

I would bet these bureaucrats are looking to profit, financially or politically (or both), and that these recommendations are NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC.

Posted by: waterloom | January 31, 2011 1:21 PM | Report abuse

It's very simple. What is good for MacDiddles & Taco Belch is not good for you. Just the fact that we have so many people who are obese and hypertensive is evidence that there are a lot of people who are not capable of making intellegent choices.

Posted by: Capn0ok1 | January 31, 2011 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the same old stuff to me.

Look around you...this program has been ineffective. How much did it cost to revise the program guidelines?

Jim

Posted by: swanjame | January 31, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like the same old stuff to me.

Look around you...this program has been ineffective. How much did it cost to revise the program guidelines?

Jim

Posted by: swanjame | January 31, 2011 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Why should I limit my salt intake if I am generally healthy and have low/normal blood pressure? Blanket statements in this instance don't apply since individuals should have different dietary needs based their own personal health situations.

Posted by: tdmartin13 | January 31, 2011 2:02 PM | Report abuse

I haven't change a thing as well not listening to new guidelines. It felted that new guidelines might make a mistake from the original. The real fact watch what you eat by going up and down everyday like: today fruit with sugar next day have plain cereal with milk or the evening is salad the next day would be a sloppy joe.

Posted by: marcy20046 | January 31, 2011 2:10 PM | Report abuse

Gee...I don't remember this government responsibility being mentioned in the Constitiution or by the Founders. Lincoln never mentioned it either. I guess the government is efficiently conducting its legitimate responsibilities and being fiscally responsible that they can spend time and money on this. After all the war in Afghanistan and Iraq are over, AMTRAK pays for itself and we no longer have an astronomical debt. Social Security is sound, Medicare runs like a top and Obama Care is insuring that we all have coverage unless our employer got a waiver.

I'm going to write a letter to the editor praising my Government and then walk right over to the Post office and mail it...oops...I forgot. My PO has been closed to save money...hmmm...

Posted by: JoeDBrown | January 31, 2011 3:07 PM | Report abuse

JodieBrown wrote: "Gee...I don't remember this government responsibility being mentioned in the Constitiution or by the Founders. Lincoln never mentioned it either."

The constitution doesn't mention automobiles, airplanes, or E-Colie either. Let's follow JoeD's game plan and shut down all government programs that promote and regulate safety, health, basic science, etc.

I want to live in JoeD's world where planes fly anywhere and anyway the pilot chooses (it's his choice, right?) and cars explode on contact because the auto industry doesn't have to meet any science-based safety standards that are validated by independent testing. And people can choose to eat whatever the food industry makes available and have no idea what's in that food, so we can make our own choices based on absolutely no scientific information at all.

In that happy world, the intelligentsia would be lead by Sarah Palin. Ah... but we can only dream.

Posted by: RufusPlimpton | January 31, 2011 3:43 PM | Report abuse

F*&% the Gov't and them telling us what we should eat. These are feeding instructions for the sheeple.

Posted by: pgr88 | January 31, 2011 4:01 PM | Report abuse

Chef Combo and Captain 20 were good enough for me.

Posted by: dac18 | January 31, 2011 4:59 PM | Report abuse

The new federal dietary guidelines amount to the same thing as Obama's economic guidelines - eat less. Next week Washington will tout their new "mobile lifestyle" recommendations where American families live out of their cars and drive aimlessly around the country looking for work.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | January 31, 2011 5:06 PM | Report abuse

more than have of the population are overweight due to their income and food choice. Many of these people are pay by food stamp and on warefel. Thus, why not have them spend 1/3 of their grocery bill on fruit and vegetable? why pay for their living expend plus medical bill? This make no sense, don't you think?

Posted by: brianwilliam_dc | January 31, 2011 6:56 PM | Report abuse


Free Samples are offered for a limited time so when they are posted please take advantage of the offer before it is gone. Look online for "123 Get Samples" where I was able to get healthy product samples.

Posted by: marycruz234 | February 1, 2011 4:20 AM | Report abuse

Eat whole foods and salt will not be a problem.

Some people develop hypertension as a results of excessive carbohydrate consumption. Changing to a lower carbohydrate way of eating can lead to lower blood pressure and reduced risk of heart disease.

Posted by: edterrynews | February 1, 2011 7:55 AM | Report abuse

Why the Hell should we care about what they say we should eat . They sat around with their fingers up their kazoos while China and Japan bought up every Kernel of corn this year while it was still in the silos. And since corn is also used to feed livestock, not only will cereals and other grain products continue to go through the roof, but beef , Pork and Poultry will as well. And China won't be using the corn for Ethanol . They laugh as Obama taxes our small businesses for Carbon emissions as they build an Electric Generating station every month, and most every one they have burns coal. And Obama still isn't issuing permits to drill for oil on our shores and all everyone talks about is the price of Petrol. Well , you can cut down on a few trips to save, but you have to heat your home, and if you keep it set too low, you'll only give the money to your doctor or the Undertaker. What does Obama care in the nice warm Brown House as we in the North East are up to $3.29 a gal for heating oil ? So, why the Hell should we let the Government tell us what the best diet is, when we'll be lucky to eat cake soon . What a Government. As the Wolf is at the door, they are busy making out next Sunday's menu.

Posted by: puck-101 | February 1, 2011 9:45 AM | Report abuse

These arbitrary, one-size-fits-all 'recommendations' that have the impact of Federal Regulations reek of 'junk food science'. There is no allowance for individuality, life-styles, genetics, or medical contraindications.
Continuing research changes our understanding of human medicine, and thus the measures needed to optimize individual health. For example, recent research has identified contributing factors to obesity in genetics and in enteric flora where none had been suspected before.
This is less about 'public health' than it is about exercising government control of the people.

Posted by: tadchem | February 1, 2011 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Dr. Mercola advises people to eat according to their metabolic and Nutritional type and has provided details at
http://products.mercola.com/nutritional-typing/

I would like to see more studies and research in this area and guidelines provided to make people individually responsible for their health by showing them how to listen to their own bodies for positive health signals

Posted by: kschami | February 2, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

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