U.S Department of Agriculture & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have released “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010”. US Government releases dietary guidelines once in every 5 years, to help Americans make better food choices. The report is claimed to be based on scientific research. Here is a review of the report.
The US Government’s effort to educate Americans about health and diet is appreciable.
The report concentrates more on curbing obesity as majority of Americans have obesity.
The total report concentrates on four major dietary advises, which are quite in line with Ayurvedic recommendations –
- Eat less
- Choose healthy and nutritious food items carefully
- Be physically active
- Go vegetarian
Dietary advises –
- It encourages people to take more of vegetables and fruits, which is refreshing.
- It encourages to consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
- Milk and dairy products: I have read in health books of US authors, and heard so many times from many US people, that milk and dairy products are of no use after childhood. But it is very refreshing to see that throughout the report milk and dairy products consumption is encouraged.
- Much against the belief that milk products will cause weight gain, the report says – “Strong evidence in adults and moderate evidence in children and adolescents demonstrates that consumption of milk and milk products does not play a special role in weight management.”
- Fortified foods, cereals find encouragement, which is slightly questionable.
- Folic acid fortified food or supplements is encouraged for woman ahead of pregnancy.
- Restriction on sodium intake and increase in potassium intake is recommended, which makes sense to avoid risk of hypertension and other related complications.
- Apart from food, a few supplements are recommended for particular population.
Eg: Crystalline Vitamin B 12 for people above 50.
Iron supplement for the pregnant.
A special section concentrates on a health principle and techniques to adopt the principle.
Principle: Replace solid fat with oils, wherever possible.
How to adopt: When using spreads, choose soft margarine with zero trans fats made from liquid vegetable oil, rather than stick margarine or butter. If you do use butter, use only a small amount. When cooking, use vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, safflower, or sunflower oil rather than solid fats (butter, coconut oil, stick margarine, shortening, lard).
Apart from dietary advises, the report stresses upon the importance of cleanliness of hands, utensils and food items.
It encourages people to read the nutritional facts printed in the labels of the food products and make sensible choices.
While majority of food industries have approached positively towards the report, a small group have shown dissent, as non veg is not encouraged.
Overall, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 is a very good read for any interested persons. The diet rules report is full of statistics and numbers, which a few people may not like.