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New Dietary Guidelines Released

US Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced the release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government’s evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.

Click here to read the full press release:  2011 Dietary Guidelines

Click here to read the key consumer messages: SelectedMessages.pdf

Here’s what CSPI had to say about the new Dietary Guidelines:

For 30 years the Dietary Guidelines has offered basically the same, sensible advice: eat less saturated fat, sodium, and sugar and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Only about 10 percent of Americans have followed that advice. The new Dietary Guidelines acknowledge that many people find healthy eating like swimming upstream, given the aggressive marketing and ubiquity of foods laden with calories, saturated fat, salt, white flour, and added sugars.

This time around, the messages are more understandable than in the past. Rather than simply saying “increase fruits and vegetables”, the new Guidelines recommend people fill half their plate with fruits and vegetables. Rather than just giving the vague advice to lower sugar intake, they now recommend drinking water in place of soda and other sugary drinks, which are by far the largest source of sugar in Americans’ diets. Importantly, the Guidelines call for “an immediate, deliberate reduction in the sodium content of foods” and for “effective policies to limit food and beverage marketing to children.”

Also unlike in the past, current administration officials have done more than just publish a pamphlet, cross their fingers, and hope that Americans eat better. They’re enacting stronger policies and programs – like improving school foods, requiring menu labeling in chain restaurants, and funding communities to promote healthy eating and physical activity — and urging food companies to improve their products and practices to make it easier for people to follow the Dietary Guidelines. But without even more serious governmental efforts—such as banning artificial trans fat and limiting sodium in packaged foods—the Dietary Guidelines will hardly be sufficient to fend off the costly and debilitating diet-related illnesses that afflict millions of Americans.