Mar 07 2014

World Health Organization To Focus On Global Sugar Intake

From a World Health Organization (WHO) Report: Free sugars contribute to the overall energy density of diets. Ensuring energy balance is critical to maintaining healthy body weight and ensuring optimal nutrient intake. There is increasing concern that consumption of free sugars, particularly in the form of sugar-sweetened beverages, may result in both reduced intake of foods containing more nutritionally adequate calories and an increase in total caloric intake, leading to an unhealthy diet, weight gain and increased risk of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs). Also of great concern is the role free sugars play in the development of dental diseases, particularly dental caries. Dental diseases are the most prevalent NCDs globally and though great improvements in prevention and treatment have occurred in the last decades, dental diseases continue to cause pain, anxiety, functional limitation and social handicap through tooth loss, for large numbers of people worldwide. The treatment of dental diseases is expensive—costing between 5 and 10% of health budgets in industrialised countries—and would exceed the financial resources available for the whole of health care for children in the majority of lower-income countries. The objective of this guideline is to provide recommendations on the consumption of free sugars to reduce the risk of NCDs in adults and children, with a particular focus on the prevention and control of weight gain and dental caries. When finalized, the recommendations in this guideline can be used by program managers and policy planners to assess current intake of free sugars relative to a benchmark and develop measures to decrease intake of ...

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Feb 06 2014

Why We Should Be Very Afraid Of Salt

Everyone needs some salt to function. Also known as sodium chloride, salt helps maintain the body's balance of fluids. Salt also functions in many foods as a preservative by helping to prevent spoilage and keeping certain foods safe to eat. But nearly all Americans consume more salt than they need, according to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are published every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The natural salt in food accounts for about 10 percent of total intake, on average, according to the guidelines. The salt we add at the table or while cooking adds another 5 to 10 percent. About 75 percent of our total salt intake comes from salt added to processed foods by manufacturers and salt that cooks add to foods at restaurants and other food service establishments. Some FAQ about salt: Q. What are the health effects of too much salt? A. In many people, salt contributes to high blood pressure. High blood pressure makes the heart work harder and can lead to heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and kidney disease. Q. What is the daily recommended amount of sodium for adults? A. The amount of salt in a food is listed as “sodium” on the Nutrition Facts label that appears on food packaging. The Dietary Guidelines recommend that the general population consume no more than ...

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Nov 08 2013

FDA Targets TRANS Fat in Processed Foods

More than decade ago, a sea change began in the American diet, with consumers starting to avoid foods with trans fat and companies responding by reducing the amount of trans fat in their products. This evolution began when FDA first proposed in 1999 that manufacturers be required to declare the amount of trans fat on Nutrition Facts labels because of public health concerns. That requirement became effective in 2006. However, there are still many processed foods made with partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), the major dietary source of trans fat in processed food. Trans fat has been linked to an increased risk of coronary heart disease, in which plaque builds up inside the arteries and may cause a heart attack. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that a further reduction of trans fat in the food supply can prevent an additional 7,000 deaths from heart disease each year and up to 20,000 heart attacks each year. Part of the FDA's responsibility to the public is to ensure that food in the American food supply is safe. Therefore, due to the risks associated with consuming PHOs, FDA has issued a Federal Register notice with its preliminary determination that PHOs are no longer "generally recognized as safe," or GRAS, for short. If this preliminary determination is finalized, then PHOs would become food additives subject to premarket approval by FDA. Foods containing unapproved food additives are ...

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Jul 14 2010

Graehm Gray: The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010-Part 2-SoFAS, Salt, Milk, Fiber, Whole Grains, Vegetables and Fruits

As you read in my article on The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) Part 1, the new guidelines offer many differences and some similarities to the 2005 DGA. There are encouragements to eat more good mono and poly unsaturated fats (e.g. fish and plant varieties) over their bad cousins-the saturated fats (meats, poultry and dairy). There is more emphasis on eating whole grain products (e.g. brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas) over the refined and processed white starches. There is a new buzz word that has emerged from these guidelines-the SoFAS-solid fats (animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils) and added sugars (sugars and syrups and other caloric sweeteners added to foods during processing, preparation or consumed separately), which according to the statistics, have contributed to 35% of the total calorie (energy) intake of all Americans. These SoFAS are said to be responsible for the overconsumption of saturated fats, cholesterol, and added sugars and have taken the place of the important dietary fibers and nutrients (like vitamin D, calcium, potassium and unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3s) in the diet. There is a recognition that portion control in the home and at restaurants needs to be monitored and is responsible for the overconsumption of calories. In fact, restaurants and the food industry are being encouraged to offer lower calorie, foods with lower SoFAS, portion ...

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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 ...

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Mar 01 2010

Childhood Obesity: Prevention With Nutrition and Exercise Guidelines

By John E. Lewis, Ph.D. Today, children face more challenges than ever in trying to achieve and maintain their health. The prevalence of the internet and video games negatively affects kids' desire to play outside and participate in physical activities, and the preponderance of fast food restaurants and processed foods at our grocery stores, along with their appealing advertising campaigns, results in an over-reliance of poor dietary choices that are too high in calories and too low in nutrition. Childhood obesity is dramatically rising and is now the most significant health crisis affecting children today. Physical inactivity and poor nutrition are the principle causes of obesity, according to the US Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Agriculture (USDA). In addition, children are now dealing with rates of Type II Diabetes and cardiovascular disease previously only seen in adults. So what can we do to help our children? In addition to proper rest and sleep, stress reduction, avoidance of toxins, such as second-hand cigarette smoke, and drinking plenty of water, health begins and ends with proper nutrition and exercise. Eating properly should consist of a reliance on a plant-based, whole food diet. Eating plants in their most natural state, looking as much like when they came out of the ground or off the tree, should be the goal. Eating a plant-based, whole food diet will give us the vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, flavonoids, and the thousands of other ...

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