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Will New Dietary Guidelines Shift Americans Toward Healthy Eating Patterns?

FoodMinds InfographicOn January 7, health professionals and policymakers heralded the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), updated to reflect current nutrition science. The DGAs provide evidence-based healthy eating principles for the public to reduce the risk of chronic disease and maintain a healthy weight. The document is published jointly by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) and Dept. of Health and Human Services (DHHS) every five years, and this newest edition will serve as a foundation for nutrition policy and programming through 2020.

According to a word content analysis conducted by FoodMinds, one of the most marked evolutions in the DGAs is the emphasis on overall healthy dietary patterns across the life span. To me, this holistic approach to healthy eating represents a shift in how we’re talking about nutrition and health. Continue reading

New Nutrition Standards to Allow Healthier Options at Schools

School LunchOn January 26, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published revised nutrition standards for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. This final rule follows a proposal issued on Jan. 13, 2011. Last year I provided my thoughts on this proposal through the ePerspective Revised School Nutrition Standards Make the Grade.

This is obviously an important and even personal topic as evidenced by the 133,268 public comments submitted to USDA regarding the proposed rule. The First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative that focuses on eliminating childhood obesity within a generation has brought heightened awareness to these standards, which cover nearly 32 million kids participating in school meal programs every school day. This is the first time in more than 15 years the standards have been revised to better reflect evidence-based science, including the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Keep Reading

Can the Food Industry Make Us Skinny?

Since the 1977 Dietary Goals for Americans, we have had U.S. dietary advice to eat less fat, less sugar, less sodium—and meanwhile we have gotten fatter. The food industry continues to do its job and respond to the latest nutrition advice to prevent chronic disease. In the 1980s, everyone was counting grams of fat and a whole industry of low- fat, tasty products was born. All the effort to create a new low-fat category of most products did not make us skinnier; in fact, it made us fatter. Keep Reading

New Dietary Guidelines Address Fiber, Whole Grains

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans policy document is the federal government guide for improving health through science-based nutritional advice. Two general concepts dominate this release:      

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

Keep Reading

Food scientists: let a dietitian take you to lunch today

Who knows, by the end of the meal, you might have the best R&D plan to help Americans make better food choices. This thought struck me—a food scientist working in the nutrition world—while I cruised the expo floor at the American Dietetic Association’s (ADA) national convention a couple of weeks ago. Several hundred exhibitors were offering their latest food products to appeal to the 10,000 registered dietitians looking for healthier foods. It seems that food scientists could take a cue from them. Keep Reading