Jul 06 2010

Graehm Gray: The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010-Part One.

I can’t believe how quick five years has been. The last Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2005 (DGA 2005) came out five years ago. And now here comes the 2010 report. Does everyone reading this article know what I am talking about? Okay-let’s review. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a joint project between the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to provide advice for people (two years and older), on how and what to eat, and how good nutrition and fitness (physical activity) can help promote good health and reduce the risk of major diseases. Information about choosing a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight, achieving adequate exercise (part of the Physical Activity Guidelies for Americans), and food safety were all included in the 2005 report. The committee that makes these recommendations is composed of experts in the fields of nutrition, exercise, medicine and science. The committee takes into consideration many factors including the current status of chronic diseases in our society like heart disease, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and bones loss. The current levels of physical activity, obesity, food insecurity and nutrient intake are also reviewed. All segments of the population are targeted (after two years of age) by these recommendations. The committee also updates the previous advice with the current nutritional and exercise knowledge that has been scientifically proven by evidence based research.  Put this entire package together and you have the latest recommendations by the gurus called the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 (DGA 2010). So now that you are familiar with the DGA, let’s dive into the general observations. As your guide, I will give you the highlights-or as I like to say-the bottom line!

  1. Lower intake of SoFAS (added sugars and solid fats): If you have read my columns, you will remember that I have been a big proponent for eating more vegetables, fruits, high-fiber whole grains, low-fat (and zero fat) milk and dairy products, and seafood. And I have always recommended that we decrease the added sugars, solid fats, refined grains (processed starches) and sodium. Well my friends, the gurus agree- we are eating too many SoFAS and not enough plant foods and fish.  According to the DGA 2010, these SoFAS contribute about 35% of the calories in the typical American adult and child diet. Solution-cut  these SoFAS down and out and make room for healthier foods.
  2. Reduce the calorie intake: Our portion sizes have grown to enormous sizes over the past five years. The term super-size has become the norm instead of on an occasion. Also as noted in many studies, there is an inverse relationship between calorie intake and longevity.
  3. Increase physical activity-does this need explanation? Our preschoolers are running, jumping and playing. But this seems to decrease as kids grow. A recent study found a big drop off in physical activity in the pre teens and teens. And adults are also in the low end of the exercise spectrum.
  4. Eat more low (or zero) fat dairy- Moderate evidence indicates that the intake of milk and milk products is linked to improved bone health in children Moderate evidence shows that intake of milk and milk products are inversely associated with cardiovascular disease. A moderate body of evidence suggests an inverse relationship between the intake of milk and milk products and blood pressure. Moderate evidence shows that milk and milk products are associated with a lower incidence of type 2 diabetes in adults. Dietary guidance has recommended reduction in dairy fats because of they contain high levels of saturated fats and cholesterol. Fat-free dairy products are devoid of saturated fats, but still contain protein, calcium, and the other nutrients found in milk products. Low fat dairy still has some saturated fats.
  5. Eat less: leans meats and poultry(saturated fats): replacing SFA with unsaturated fats is more effective in decreasing CVD risk than is reducing total fat intake and consumption of n-3 fatty acids from seafood and plant sources has a significant cardio-protective effect and decreases cardiovascular mortality. Eat more plant based foods and seafood. Fats that come from seafood and plants (mono and polyunsaturated fats) have a positive effect on cardiovascular and metabolic (diabetes, cancer, etc.) diseases
  6. Lower your salt intake: Excessive sodium intake, especially when accompanied by inadequate potassium intake, raises blood pressure. Adverse effects of sodium on blood pressure appear to begin early in life. Excess sodium intake has been linked to an increased incidence of gastric cancer. Children and adults should lower their sodium intake as much as possible by consuming fewer processed foods that are high in sodium, and by using little or no salt when preparing or eating foods. The major sources of sodium intake among the US population are yeast breads; chicken and chicken mixed dishes; pizza; pasta and pasta dishes; cold cuts; condiments; Mexican mixed dishes; sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs; regular cheese; grain-based desserts; soups; and beef and beef mixed dishes.
  7. Eat more veggies, fruits, nuts, whole grains, seeds, and beans. Eat very little refined grains(processed starches)-that’s white products in general (white rice, white bread, etc.). Refined products offer only calories and sugar and little in the way of nutrients. There is no health benefit (apart from the calories that supply energy) from eating refined products. In fact, refined products have been associated with a higher glycemic index.  Whole grain intake, which includes cereal fiber, protects against cardiovascular disease is associated with a reduced incidence of type 2 diabetes, and is associated with a lower body weight.  Dietary fiber is intrinsic and intact in plants, helps provide satiety, and is important in promoting healthy laxation. Diets high in fiber also have been linked to reduced risk of diabetes, colon cancer, obesity, other chronic diseases and have been linked to lower body weights. There is a moderate inverse relationship between vegetable and fruit consumption with myocardial infarction and stroke, with significantly larger, positive effects noted above five servings of vegetables and fruits per day.
  8. Individuals are encouraged to drink water and other fluids with few or no calories.

My friends, this is TMI, or for those non texters out there, too much information, for just one article.  So over the next few articles, I will cover more of the meat and potatoes-or to put it into current lingo-salmon and brown rice. Is there any “bottom line” theory? Yes:

Lower: the calories, the saturated fat, the added sugar and the salt, highly sweetened/caloric beverages.

Increase: the plants (veggies, fruits, nuts and seeds), low ( zero) fat dairy, fish, water (and other fluids with few or no calories) and the exercise.

Stay tuned for part two-much more information and specifics-and of course my Nerdel News spin-to cut through the tedious content and give you a bottom line that you can take away!

Stay fit and healthy The New Nerdel Way.

What are SoFAS:

Solid fats—Fats that are usually not liquid at room temperature. Solid fats are found in most animal foods but also can be made from vegetable oils through hydrogenation. Some common solid fats include: butter, beef fat (tallow, suet), chicken fat, pork fat (lard), stick margarine, and shortening. Foods high in solid fats include: many cheeses, creams, whole milk, ice creams, well-marbled cuts of meats, regular ground beef, bacon, sausages, poultry skin, and many baked goods (such as cookies, crackers, doughnuts, pastries, and croissants). Most solid fats contain saturated fats, cholesterol and/or trans fats, and have little or no monounsaturated or polyunsaturated fats.

Added sugars—Sugars, syrups, and other caloric sweeteners that are added to foods during processing, preparation, or consumed separately. Added sugars do not include naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk or fruits. Names for added sugars include: brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, dextrose, fructose, fruit juice concentrates, glucose, high-fructose corn syrup, honey, invert sugar, lactose, maltose, malt syrup, molasses, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, trebalose, and sucrose.



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