New 2010 Dietary Guideline Report


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
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Thirteen independent experts have finally concluded their work and presented their Report on Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010. The 2010 Advisory Committee worked for two years to update the guidelines and the group consists of individuals nationally recognized for their knowledge in the fields of nutrition or health and are affiliated with universities throughout the country. Their initial task was to "provide science-based advice for Americans, in order to promote health and to reduce the risk for major chronic diseases through diet and physical activity." The report recognizes that we have an overweight and obese American population that is already dealing with chronic diseases instead of predominantly healthy individuals that are seeking to maintain health, which was the original intention of the guidelines when they were first introduced in back in 1980.

Congress mandates the Dietary Guidelines be reviewed and updated every five years by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The guidelines provide the basis for federal nutrition education, food assistance programs, and decisions about national health objectives. These new updated guidelines will be used as the basis for meal planning for the National School Lunch Program as well as the Elderly Nutrition Program. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) incorporate the guidelines into their educational materials while the Healthy People 2010 objectives for the Nation will include the developed 2010 Dietary Guidelines. The updated guidelines will be used to "help policy makers, educators, clinicians, and others speak with one voice on nutrition and health to reduce the confusion caused by mixed messages in the media." Here are some highlights of the updated guidelines and how you can provide feedback before the guidelines are approved and published later this year.

Although the guidelines have predominantly focused on adults, this report takes a wider look at the importance of nutrition throughout the lifespan and provides specific attention to particular populations of concern such as children, pregnant and lactating women, and older adults. The Advisory Committee has recommended a nutrient-dense total diet approach to meeting dietary needs. While there is no standard "American" or "Western" diet, it is clear from the committee's findings that typical food patterns do not resemble the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The latest National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) revealed that Americans consume "too many calories and too much solid fats, added sugars, refined grains, and sodium and too little dietary fiber, vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and unsaturated fatty acids such as omega-3s or nutrients found predominantly in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat milk products and seafood."

  • Physical Activity - There is clear evidence that physical activity assists with weight stabilization. The updated recommendation suggests children and adolescents participate in at least 60 minutes of physical activity each day. It is suggested that adults participate in 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity or a combination each week to maintain body weight over time. Overweight and obese adults desiring to lose substantial weight should combine the above physical activity recommendation with calorie restrictions. Research indicates that for adults that have successfully lost substantial weight and do not wish to regain it, physical activity needs increase to more than 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity or 150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity or a combination of the two.
  • Calories and nutrients - Americans are overweight and obese because they consume an abundance of tasty, energy-dense, micronutrient poor foods and beverages. It is necessary for Americans to ensure energy intakes match energy needs and for many people this requires lowering overall energy intake. Nutrient-dense foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk products need to be selected often to help address nutrients of concern, which are vitamin D, calcium, potassium, and dietary fiber. Women of reproductive age also need to consume folate and iron rich foods while older individuals have a need to increase foods rich in vitamin B12. The Committee does not highlight health benefits from daily multivitamin/mineral supplements for healthy people. Breakfast and smart snacking were found to be beneficial for some people to meet nutrient recommendations especially when they are nutrient-dense selections.
  • Fatty acids and cholesterol - Dietary fat and cholesterol contribute to morbidity and mortality rates related to disease for Americans however, consumption has not changed significantly since 1990. Americans should continue to limit saturated fatty acid intake to less than 7 percent of calorie intake (or no more than 10 percent of energy) and continue to select monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fatty acids to meet their dietary fat needs. Dietary cholesterol should continue to be limited to less than 300 mg per day for healthy people and lower for those at risk for heart disease. Americans should still avoid industrial sources of trans fatty acids and limit natural sources as much as possible. Cholesterol-raising fats, redefined as saturated fats (excluding stearic acid) and trans fatty acids, should be limited to less than five percent of estimated energy needs. Seafood is encouraged weekly with two, four-ounce edible portion sizes recommended for the marine fatty acid source benefits.
  • Sodium, Potassium and Water - Americans continue to consume too much sodium and not enough potassium which contributes to negative health consequences such as increased blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. Water sustains life and adequate amounts are needed regularly except under unusual circumstances however, there is no evidence that Americans consume too little or too much.
  • Alcohol - Alcohol consumption provides mixed health responses with moderate intake lowering risks of diabetes and heart disease but increased risk of breast and colon cancer as well as unintentional injuries. The Committee recommends that if alcohol is consumed it should only be by adults and in moderation. They define moderation based on average intake over the course of a week or month with a daily intake threshold. Their recommended average consumption is one drink per day over a week's time or no more than three drinks in a single day for women and an average consumption for men of no more than two drinks per day average with no more than four drinks in a single day. They define one drink as 12 fl. oz. or regular beer, 5 fl. oz. of wine, or 1.5 fl. oz. of distilled spirits.
  • Food Safety and Technology - Food safety was highlighted in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans but since that release, concerns have escalated related to the number of product recalls from disease-causing bacteria and non-food substance contamination. American's are encouraged to improve personal food safety education and handling especially related to hand sanitation, use of thermometers, limiting cross-contamination and on the risks of consuming risky foods. The Committee also identified a need for improved communication and information related to benefit vs risk information for seafood safety and choices.
In their conclusion, the Committee also outlined the following healthier dietary behaviors.

  • Prepare, serve and consume smaller portions when dining at home and select smaller portion sizes when eating away from home.
  • Eat a healthy breakfast each day and when snacking select nutrient-dense options that are minimally processed.
  • Limit idle time in front of the screen, (television or video) and limit eating while watching television.
  • Monitor your body weight, food intake portions and nutrition content, and physical activity levels to achieve and maintain desired weight goals.
  • Eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods throughout the day to meet daily calorie requirements.
According to the USDA press release on Tuesday, the public is invited to provide public comments after reviewing the report. Written comments will be accepted from June 15, 2010 to July 15, 2010 and may be mailed to Carole Davis, Co-Executive Secretary, Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Room 1034, Alexandrea, VA 22302. Public comments may also be made online at the USDA Dietary Guidelines website until 5:00 pm EDT on July 15, 2010. Oral testimony may be offered at a public meeting in the Jefferson Auditorium of the US Department of Agriculture's South Building, 1400 Independence Ave starting at 9:00 am EDT on July 8, 2010. Following the review of comments, the USDA and HHS will consider them as they translate the Advisory Report of the Committee into the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius will jointly release the 2010 Dietary Guidelines policy at the end of 2010.

What do you think of the highlights of the report? What do you think of the outlined dietary behaviors? What do they remind you of?

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