For Immediate Release
CSPI Welcomes New Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Statement of CSPI Nutrition Policy Director Margo G. Wootan
WASHINGTON - For 30 years, the Dietary Guidelines has offered basically the same,
sensible advice: eat fewer calories; less saturated fat, sodium, and
sugar; and more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Only about 10
percent of Americans have followed that advice. The new Dietary Guidelines
acknowledges that most people find healthy eating like swimming
upstream, given the aggressive marketing and ubiquity of foods laden
with calories, saturated fat, salt, white flour, and added sugars.
This time around, the messages are clearer than in the
past. Rather than simply saying "increase fruits and vegetables," the
news Guidelines recommend people fill half their plate with fruits and
vegetables. Rather than just giving the vague advice to lower sugar
intake, they now recommend drinking water in place of soda
and other sugary drinks, which are by far the largest source of sugar
in Americans' diets. Importantly, the Guidelines call for "an immediate,
deliberate reduction in the sodium content of foods" and for "effective
policies to limit food and beverage marketing to children."
Another major difference is that Obama administration
officials have done more than just publish a pamphlet, cross their
fingers, and hope that Americans eat better. They're enacting stronger
policies and programs-like improving school foods,
requiring menu labeling in chain restaurants, and funding communities
to promote healthy eating and physical activity-and urging food
companies to improve their products and practices. But without even more
serious governmental efforts-such as banning artificial trans fat and limiting sodium in packaged foods-the Dietary Guidelines will not be sufficient to fend off the costly and debilitating
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