new usda nutrition guidelines
This week, the USDA announced new dietary guidelines. Every 5 years the government is required to re-assess our national standards. The new guidelines state that Americans should eat more vegetables, less saturated fat, less sugar, and for the first time; state that men and boys should be eating less meat and eggs. The panel's original guidelines specifically advocated for a more plant-based diet to decrease environmental impact and increase health. This was cut out of the final guidelines.While the latest guidelines dropped the longstanding limit on dietary cholesterol, the panel also noted that Americans should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible, to lower their risk of cardiovascular disease.Stated in the New York Times, these dietary guidelines are virtually identical to those of the past 35 years, during which time obesity and diabetes have skyrocketed, said Nina Teicholz, an investigative journalist and Nutrition Coalition board member. Given the same advice, it's not clear why we should expect different outcomes.So what gives? Nutrition advise as stated in the Times article, hasn't changed much at all. What has changed is verbiage. There are many interests that try to create a confusing environment surrounding nutrition. Make no mistake about it. It's a highly political system. Basic nutrition advise has always been to eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and a predominantly plant-based diet. However, industry does NOT like this message and is highly involved in the verbiage when it comes to guidelines. For example:2015 USDA Dietary Guidelines state:
- Less than 10% of calories from added sugars [this is new, but consistent with many other reports such as the one from WHO]
- Less than 10% of calories from saturated fats [in the Guidelines since 1990]
- Less than 2,300 mg sodium [no change from 2010]
- Saturated fat is a euphemism for meat.
- Added sugars is a euphemism for sodas and other sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Sodium is a euphemism for processed foods and junk foods.