A Look At The 2015 U.S. Dietary GuidelinesThu 26 Feb 2015
Story by The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)
Last week the Dietary Advisory Committee released its recommendations for U.S. Dietary guidelines. These guidelines are proposed every five years by a panel of 14 nutrition, public health and medicine experts and must wait a 45-day period of revision, prior to their finalization. Both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services consider the committee’s recommendations and issue the finalized report. Find out more about the submission and review process here.
What are the US Dietary Guidelines?
The Dietary Advisory Committee recommends actions for attaining a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. Although the 570 page report is daunting, the main points of the report, simply put, are: to increase the general public’s consumption of fruits and vegetables, to provide affordable and accessible methods of physical activity, and to increase support of school and corporate nutrition programs.
Unlike the committee’s previous reports, these latest standards now incorporate the environmental impact of food sustainability, take a stronger opposition to the consumption of sugar, and encourage the health benefits of a plant-based lifestyle.
An Environmental Approach
For the first time, the guidelines consider the environmental impacts of food consumption, sustainability and packaging. In this year’s guidelines, the committee argues that a ‘green’ approach is better suited for the long-term environment.
The Meat-Free Movement
The committee claims that a lower meat diet can positively impact our environment. To be more environmentally responsible, the guidelines place a larger emphasis on a plant based diet and encourages the consumption of sustainably caught fish, sometimes in the place of meat.
The report states that, "a diet higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, and lower in calories and animal-based foods is more health-promoting and is associated with less environmental impact than is the current US diet."
Find out more about the meat-free recommendations and the controversy that this might lead to in this article from The Washington Times.
The guidelines also focused on the growing concern of sugar-loaded beverages and food, with a specific focus on children’s sugar consumption. To address this growing concern, the committee proposes encouraging children to drink water instead of sugar-loaded beverages and increasing the accessibility of water in schools.
Back in January of this year, Jamie Oliver visited California to team up with The California Endowment and launch their #Agua4All campaign which aims to increase the accessibility of safe, clean, drinking water to Californians. Approximately 25 percent of California’s 9,846 schools do not meet the state and federal mandate to provide free, fresh drinking water to school children at mealtimes. Without safe water, the nearest and most affordable beverage options are often sodas and other sugary drinks. Find out more about the Agua4All campaign and see how you can help make a change here.
As Anahad O’Connor mentioned in the New York Times Blog, “Many experts, including some who disagreed with the panel’s cautions on salt and saturated fat, applauded its stronger stance on added sugars.”
The guidelines also advise limiting sugar-added foods and beverages in school lunch meals and limiting the direct advertisement of sugar-loaded items to children.
The latest guidelines dispelled the previously strict stance on the intake of cholesterol. The Washington Post reported, “That cholesterol in the diet need no longer be considered a “nutrient of concern” stands in contrast to the committee’s findings five years ago, the last time it convened.”
No matter how you like your eggs in the morning, these guidelines allow you to now eat your eggs a little more peacefully!
Let the wait begin.
The Dietary Advisory Committee has covered a large range of actions to help the US achieve a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. With the inclusion of environmental factors, the committee has taken a more global and sustainable approach to achieving a healthier lifestyle.
Find out more about the proposed guidelines here, and share your comments here.
Stay tuned to see which of the committee’s actions are finalized!
The Jamie Oliver Food Foundation (USA)
Images: Jamieoliver.com, wallstreetdaily.com
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