Looks like it might be time to drop pop from your cup holder:
New dietary guidelines were issued by the Department of Agriculture, but some of the recommendations are what most Americans have avoided for a long time, which is to cut down on saturated fats, sugar and salt. The guidelines also recommended greater intake of vegetables and fruits. Although the guide looks very much similar to the version that was released 30 years ago, there is added urgency around it following more and more evidence accumulating in favor of the argument that stagnating lifestyle and being overweight are directly connected to high medical expenses and diseases.
The USDA Guidelines Advisory Committee acknowledged the fact that there has not been much progress and the new guidelines which are published every five years are primarily aimed at the American population, where a majority is overweight and obese, yet badly nourished in several critical nutrients. This increasing problem and the related expenses have reflected in the recommendations of the guidelines. Strokes and other heart diseases which costs billions of dollars annually have been linked to excessive intake of salt which is around 3400 mg daily consumed by the average American.
The recommended figure for salt hovers between 1500- 2300 milligrams, while a lower figure has been recommended for middle aged and older people, African American people in general and those with high blood pressure. Since 70% of the American population comes under these categories the recommended figure has been extended for the entire population. In April too there was a recommendation from the Institute of Medicine on the back of Food and Drug Administration’s request that the salt amount be reduced in the products made by beverage and food makes in the country.
Department of Health and Human Service and Department of Agriculture were requested by a committee of 13 health and nutrition experts to bring forth a strategy that involves education and awareness about better nutrition. The panel also called for the spread of healthy cooking practices and increased nutrition literacy, so that healthy foods are prepared at home. Besides the above the panel requested for greater availability of fresh products to consumers and equal stress in schools on nutrition, physical education and health. The panel’s recommendations also involve decisions for school breakfast, Meals on wheels, labeling of food and regulatory issues involving marketing of food to children, only few of whose details are actually known to the American citizens, apart from the food pyramid that was published by the government.