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2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are reviewed by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years to develop authoritative advice to Americans about calorie consumption, making informed food choices and being physically active to maintain a healthy weight and reduce the risk of disease.

The release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines was announced on January 31, 2011 by USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The guidelines were the result of work done by the 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) that was appointed by the two cabinet officials to “provide science-based advice for Americans, in order to promote health and to reduce the risk for major chronic diseases through diet and physical activity.”

The 2010 DGAs focus on balancing calories and physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains and fat-free and low-fat dairy products.

The DGAs serve as a basis for Federal food and nutrition programs including the National School Lunch Program, the School Breakfast Program and the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program. They play a more limited role in impacting consumer food purchases.

At Issue: the DGA recommendations:

  • Use the term “refined” instead of “enriched” grains
  • Direct consumers to reduce consumption of “refined” grains emphasizing those that contain solid fats, added sugars and sodium
  • Suggest replacing “refined” grains with whole grains whenever possible
  • Suggest reducing sodium to less than 2300 mg daily, with further reductions to 1500 mg for age 51 and older, African Americans, and those with certain diseases – this includes over 50% of consumers

Positive Points: the DGA acknowledgments

  • Maintain grains as part of a healthy lifestyle
  • Continue to eat 6 servings of grain foods daily, with half those whole grains
  • Health benefits come from both whole and enriched grains, including enriched grains’ role as an important source of folate for pregnant women.

Prepared by Sherri Lehman, [email protected], 202.484.2200, ext. 13

Last updated February 28, 2011

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