The Human and Health Services Department and USDA released the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The recommendations focus on increased physical activity, reduced caloric consumption and a common sense approach based on science.
The food guide pyramid of 2000 will likely be replaced with a more balanced representation of fruits and vegetables. In addition, the recommendations are focusing more on cups than servings. The change was seen as a way for consumers to more easily understand the governments dietary advice, explains Secretary of HHS Tommy Thompson.
Key recommendations the guidelines encourage:
- Consume a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and 2½ cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a reference 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level.
- Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
- Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day, with the rest of the recommended grains coming from enriched or whole-grain products. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
- Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
Already the food industry is responding to the new guide. Thompson explains that food companies are addressing the issue of obesity and making changes based on the guidelines' recommendations. General Mills for instance will increase the use of whole-grain wheat for its products. "We aren't to a tipping point, but we're getting closer to that," Thompson says in response to whether corporate America is ready to get serious about providing healthier options for consumers.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines and consumer brochure are available at www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.