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Posted at 7:00 AM ET, 02/ 1/2011

New dietary guidelines, boiled down

By Jennifer LaRue Huget

Are you as excited as I am about the release yesterday of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010? 

Probably no one is more excited, or perhaps relieved, than the folks who have been working for years to craft the new document. They've had to sort through lots of scientific evidence and consider the opinions of everyone from the National Cattlemen's Beef Association to the pro-vegetarian Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, and come to some consensus as to what the document should advise about how Americans should eat.

The 100-plus-page brochure (available here in PDF form) offers guidance on everything from fish consumption (everyone, including pregnant women, should eat more) to improving Americans' access to healthful foods. It all boils down to two key messages. Americans should:

  • Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
  • Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages.

Still, there's a certain air of resignation to an accompanying document issued on the Dietary Guidelines Web site called "Selected Messages for Consumers." Here it is, in its entirety:

Dietary Guidelines 2010 

Selected Messages for Consumers 


Take action on the Dietary Guidelines by making changes in these three 


Choose steps that work for you and start today. 

Balancing Calories  

Enjoy your food, but eat less. 

Avoid oversized portions. 


Foods to Increase 

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.  

Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk. 


Foods to Reduce 

Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals -- and 

choose the foods with lower numbers. 

Drink water instead of sugary drinks. 

That, you can almost hear the authors conceding, may be about all the guidance many of us can absorb. 

But just think: What if we all just took these basic baby steps? I will if you will. 

Do you intend to read and follow the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010? Please let us know in today's poll!

By Jennifer LaRue Huget  | February 1, 2011; 7:00 AM ET
Categories:  Dietary Guidelines, Nutrition and Fitness, Obesity  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: New federal dietary guidelines released
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The US may be getting closer to what is actually a healthy diet recommendation, but without one mention of insulin and it's role in weight gain; they're not there yet. Any diet that includes as many grains as it is recommending and tells you to consciously monitor your caloric intake, certainly doesn't take insulin into consideration. Aside from the deleterious effects grains tend to have on humans anyway. When they essentially give the no BS recommendation of eating no grains, no sugar (including no fruit juice), and to just eat lean meat/fish, veggies, nuts/seeds and some fruit is the day these recommendations might actually start to combat the obesity epidemic. People were made to not have to count calories, our body takes care of this job just fine without any conscious thought IF we are eating the correct foods; only those which can be found in the "wild."

Posted by: sdepasquale | February 1, 2011 8:10 AM | Report abuse

There is no disagreement; we are in a diabetes epidemic. But, after two years of meetings and deliberations, 13 PhD's from universities across the country release 112-pages of guidelines that do not mention "elevated blood sugar." Elevated blood sugar is the marker for type 2 diabetes.) There is no warning to avoid blood-sugar-raising food products (like Fruit Loops) - no mention that high fructose corn syrup causes insulin resistance. Once again, the sugar and packaged food lobby prevailed over science and prevented any information about how to prevent or reverse diabetes. Big Food won; expect more obesity and diabetes as children pour high sugar flavored nonfat milk on their sugary breakfast cereal.

Posted by: watson6 | February 1, 2011 8:38 AM | Report abuse

It's not always easy to ensure your family gets the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables each day. I like the half-my-plate concept from Fruits & Veggies More Matters. We should all be eating a few more fruits and/or vegetables each day--it certainly couldn't hurt!

Posted by: js369 | February 1, 2011 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I eat all organic and locally grown foods. I believe it is possible to eat a very healthy diet without buying packaged or processed foods. For those that do, All labes should be true and complete. The words 'Natural,' 'Organic,' and 'Free Range,' etc., should be clearly defined and not used to mislead the buyer about the quality of foods. Honesty in packaging would be a health revolution!

Posted by: eleeba | February 1, 2011 1:55 PM | Report abuse

I eat all organic and locally grown foods. I like the recommendation that half of our plate should be fruits and vegetables. I believe it is possible to eat a very healthy diet without buying packaged or processed foods. For those that do, All labes should be true and complete. The words 'Natural,' 'Organic,' and 'Free Range,' etc., should be clearly defined and not used to mislead the buyer about the quality of foods. Honesty in packaging would be a health revolution!

And, I am just wondering, why does the beef or dairy or ANY INDUSTRY THAT MAKES A PROFIT get to set nutrition standards for human health? ?

Posted by: eleeba | February 1, 2011 1:57 PM | Report abuse

I already follow these guidelines and my weight has not shifted more than three pounds above or below my self-prolciamed 115# target. If I follow calories-in vs. calories-out, I automatically will avoid what is not healthy for me. Although it's better to eat more fruits and vegetables, I don't consciously focus my eating in ths way. Concern about obesity will keep my choices sensibile.

Posted by: naomirevzin | February 2, 2011 7:37 AM | Report abuse

I've been following the guide lines to a point, and have altered it to eliminate my meat and dairy intake. This agrees with my blood type A digestive system. The emphases should be on eating whole foods that haven't been processed. That would give people a clearer directive that might be easier to adopt.

Posted by: dvdpenner | February 2, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

I will read the guidelines and use them as a starting point my eating plan. However, I think the USDA has made too many political compromises, rather than just following the best research data, for me to slavishly follow all their recommendations. For example, there is no good evidence that 2 or more cups of milk are essential for health, although it is clearly good for the dairy industry.

Posted by: MontgomeryCountyMs | February 2, 2011 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I already follow these guidelines pretty closely. I have drunk skim milk for about 40 years and and in the mid 80's I cut out most meat. I love food so it is a blast to figure out how to cook veggies and fish in different ways. I don't salt my food and I buy very little prepared foods. I am 73 years old and the only thing that is a problem for me is losing my breath walking up and down stairs. That is because I smoked for a number of years.

Posted by: bearle3410 | February 2, 2011 1:04 PM | Report abuse

As a Registered Dietitian, I think the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines can be boiled down even further to the following:

*Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
*Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages.

If you really consider these two points – and apply them to your lifestyle – you realize these guidelines aren’t restrictive or burdensome at all. They provide the framework for your very own customized smart eating plan that focuses on nutrient-rich foods first, and includes favorite snacks, sweets, beverages and treats along with these foods, not instead of. You balance all choices and calories with sensible portion sizes and increased physical activity. Let’s all remember - moderation and energy balance does not mean avoid or eliminate – it ultimately means when you make the effort, you can enjoy and savor any and all foods and beverages, including soda, pizza, or my favorite – brownies.

Thank you.
Kim Galeaz, RD, CD - Registered Dietitian, Writer and Culinary-Nutrition Consultant to the food, beverage and agriculture industry.

Posted by: KimGaleazRD | February 2, 2011 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I agree that Americans need to step up their health, and I fully support the Vegetarian diet and healthy lifestyle. I feel that seniors need to follow the most nutritious diets rich with fruits and vegetables, and senior care facilities need to offer such healthy foods.

Your Complete Source for Senior Care

Posted by: GeriCareFinder | February 3, 2011 12:16 AM | Report abuse

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