first slate of nutritional recommendations it has issued since
2011, the federal government on Thursday gave health-conscious
Americans the go-ahead to eat eggs and others foods rich in
cholesterol, to drink as many as five cups of coffee daily,
and to enjoy a range of fats long avoided by many.
dietary guidelines, issued by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services,
are the first ever to recommend a limitó10 percent of daily
caloriesóto the amount of added sugars Americans should
fats, too, should account for no more than 10 percent of a
personís daily calorie intake, the 2015-2020 Dietary
Guidelines recommend. That puts red meats, butter, cheeses and
high-fat dairy products like ice cream and whole milk in a
category of foods to be eaten sparingly.
advice fits with a new emphasis on moving Americans away from
meals built around animal protein and toward diets more
heavily derived from plants. Drawing a link for the first time
between the planetís health and that of Americans, the new
federal guidelines said the widespread adoption of diets lower
in animal protein and richer in fruits, vegetables, legumes
and nuts would lower rates of disease as well as ease pressure
on the environment.
every five years since 1980, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines set
nutritional standards for state and federal programs such as
school lunches, food stamps and programs benefiting children
and pregnant women.
the recommendations are expected to translate current
scientific findings on diet and nutrition into everyday
guidance for Americans. Thatís a tall order, both because
many of the scientific findings remain controversial and
because their complexity often defies efforts to simplify.
the new guidelines nudge U.S. nutritional policy toward a
traditional Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes consumption
of copious fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes drenched in
such fat sources as olive, nut, soybean and sunflower oils.
contrast to a "Western diet" heavy on red meat,
high-fat dairy and simple carbohydrates, the Mediterranean
diet calls for moderate fish and chicken consumption and
reliance on whole grains and little added sugar. Research
comparing populations that follow the two dietary patterns
consistently find that adherents of the Mediterranean diet
have longer lifespans and lower rates of cardiovascular
disease, diabetes and some cancers.
focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating
healthy becomes more manageable," said Health and Human
Services Department Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell in releasing
the report early Thursday morning. "The Dietary
Guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and
nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep
their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions,
like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease."
removing dietary cholesterol as a "nutrient of concern
for overconsumption," the authors of the new guidelines
bowed to research findings suggesting that eating foods rich
in the fatty substance contributes only marginally to levels
of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream. Medications
such as statins, getting regular physical activity and
controlling oneís weight are now considered to be more
effective ways to improve worrisome blood-cholesterol levels.
ahead of the guidelinesí release, however, those claims drew
controversy. The Physicians Committee for Responsible
Medicine, a group that advocates for "a better future for
people and animals," on Wednesday filed a lawsuit against
the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of
Health and Human Services.
group charged that egg-industry interests powerfully
influenced the research underpinning the new advice on
cholesterol. As evidence, they noted that as many as four of
the 14 outside experts who provided scientific advice to
guideline drafters came from institutions that received
substantial funds from the egg industry. That scientific
advisory committee, the suit alleges, relied heavily on
egg-industry-funded research findings when it recommended
removing cholesterol as a "nutrient of concern" in
aspects of the new guidelines are likely to spark debate as
a growing debate over the public impact of limiting salt
intake, the newly released guidelines held the line on sodium
as a "nutrient of concern."
to research linking excess sodium intake to high blood
pressure and other health problems, the new guidelines
recommend that Americans ages 14 and older limit their sodium
intake to less than 2,300 mg a day ó the equivalent of a
single teaspoon of table salt ó and recommend lower levels
for younger Americans.
Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
reported that even before salt added at the table is
considered, more than 90 percent of children and 89 percent of
adults ages 19 and older consume sodium well in excess of the
limits advised by the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
some researchers and health organizations have advocated for
even lower sodium limits, others have argued that lower limits
could hurt some Americans, including those with heart failure.
a beloved beverage that was long viewed with suspicion by
physicians, got a surprising boost in the new guidelines. The
committee of experts advising the guideline drafters cited
mounting research showing that caffeine intake equivalent to
three to five cups of coffee is not only safe, but also
appears to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes and
cardiovascular disease in adults. Caffeine may even protect
against Parkinsonís disease, the evidence suggests.