NUTRITION: Dietary Guidelines Call for Less Sugar, Fat
A draft of the government's dietary guidelines calls for Americans "to limit sugary drinks and sweets and to cut down on foods rich in saturated fats, such as meat and dairy products," the AP/Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports. The proposed guidelines also increase emphasis on eating fruits, vegetables and whole grains. A special section on food safety is included, as well as the first ever specifications on the benefits of moderate alcohol consumption for middle-aged men and women. First published in 1980, the guidelines, used in federal food programs, are revised every five years. Margo Wootan, a senior scientist at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said, "These guidelines will be better than they have ever been. ... Usually when they come up for review, it seems like an opportunity for the food industry to weaken them." She added, "This time I think the dietary guidelines will actually ... provide consumers advice that's a little stronger and more straightforward." But Neil Barnard, president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) -- a group spearheading a lawsuit against HHS and the Department of Agriculture said, "Frankly, it looks to me as if they were written with health interests only about half weighed-in and the remaining part was written with an eye to the meat and dairy industries." Inside the industry, however, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association and the National Pork Producers Council oppose the emphasis on saturated fat, saying it "unfairly indicts all foods of animal origin as bad." Lisa Katic of the Grocery Manufacturers of America also criticizes the committee's changes to the sugar guideline, saying "there has been no significant research that would support the targeting added sugars." Before it is finalized, the proposal must be approved by the HHS and Department of Agriculture (Brasher, 1/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.