The USDA and Department of Health and Human Services released updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans at the end of January.
Of the 23 recommendations, here are few:
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Eat fewer calories from solid fats and sugars
- Reduce sodium consumption to under 2300 mg per day
- Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red and orange vegetables as well as beans and peas
Sorry, I don’t mean to sound snarky or sarcastic but these are things I, as well as many other health and fitness professionals, have been telling people for quite some time. These are basic and common sense nutrition concepts. I think most people already know they need to eat less sugar and fat and eat more vegetables. They just don’t understand how to do it and the food industry isn’t helping.
What I would rather see the USDA do is to get specific. Here are some recommendations I would put in place:
- Require real and common sense serving sizes. If a meal replacement or candy bar is packaged as single item, then the serving size should be 1 bar, not ½ or ¼. Same thing with individual bottled beverages.
- If a product has a fruit in the name, it should be required to actually contain said fruit in its real not synthesized state.
- If a product has more than 1 type of sugar, require all sugars to be listed together and placed in the correct order in the ingredient list. Ever notice how a product has several different types of sugars listed, cereal for example. They do that so sugar doesn’t have to be the first or second ingredient (ingredients are listed in order of most to least on the label).
- Phase out the use of high fructose corn syrup and educate customers on the types of sugars to avoid. Fruit has sugar, but it also has vitamins and fiber. This is the sugar you should consume.
We have a serious problem in our country. Generic guidelines aren’t going to cut it any longer. The government needs to get in step with the latest health, fitness and nutritional findings and provide specific and impactful guidelines to Americans. Come on USDA, catch up!