perfect world, we wouldn’t need the government to give us
just ignore all the marketing urging us to grab food that’s
formulated to deliver the most sugar, salt and short-term
satisfaction for the least amount of money. We’d learn to
ignore our cravings to eat the things we know we shouldn’t
eat, and we’d only listen to the part of our brains that
tell us to eat balanced meals and skip the extra calories.
perfect world, though, is it? We’re bombarded every day with
contradictory messages, get-thin-quick plans and nutrition
five years, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and
Human Services come out with a list of rules, politely called
guidelines, on how we ought to eat. We all know, of course,
that an awful lot of wrangling goes into that list. Food
lobbies, special-interest groups and big business play a huge
role in what those guidelines say.
list, released last week, did take a couple of steps forward.
Instead of telling you to limit sugar, it gives you a target
— less than 10 percent of your daily calories. That would
certainly limit high-sugar drinks, a good suggestion in an era
when the original 6.5-ounce bottle of Coca-Cola has been
replaced by a 12-ounce bottle that’s dwarfed by a 32-ounce
"small" cup at a movie theater. You can get the full
list at health.gov/dietaryguidelines.
set of rules lifted limits on eggs and kept the focus on
lowering sodium. It suggests more plant-based food and
encourages teen boys and adult men to eat less protein. It
doesn’t mention eating less red meat, but it does support
eating more fish.
focuses on dietary patterns, which is a good idea. It’s not
one meal or one splurge that’s the problem, it’s the
long-term pattern of how you eat over your lifetime that adds
up. But it ends up with language so fuzzy, it will make you
yearn for the days when we all made fun of the Food Guide
Pyramid. At least the pyramid got to the point.
perfect world, we’d have a simple list of dietary
1. If it’s
sweet, just take a couple of bites.
2. If it’s
salty, don’t eat more than a handful.
you cook it yourself, you can eat it more often.
4. If it
makes you feel guilty, you probably shouldn’t do it.
as much time getting exercise as you do sitting at a table.
6. Eat a
lot of different things — different colors, different
more plants than meat. Try to eat things grown by people you
know or things you’ve grown yourself.
Remember that food is joyful and life-sustaining. Food is
meant to be shared and enjoyed. There. Does that about cover