Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 25th 2015 Contents Who's telling you what to eat
The 14 outside experts who made up the
2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee
are nationally recognised in the fields of
nutrition, medicine and public health.
In a letter to the HHS and USDA secre-
taries, 2015 DGAC chairman Barbara Millen
highlights the major diet-related health prob-
lems she says we re facing and must reverse.
"About half of all American adults---117
million individuals---have one or more pre-
ventable (emphasis hers) chronic diseases
that relate to poor quality dietary patterns
and physical inactivity, including cardiovas-
cular diseases, hypertension, type 2 diabetes,
and diet-related cancers," Millen writes.
"More than two-thirds of adults and nearly
one-third of children and youth are over-
weight or obese. These devastating health
problems have persisted for decades, strained
US healthcare costs, and focused the atten-
tion of our healthcare system on disease
treatment rather than prevention. They call
for bold action and sound, innovative solu-
Millen hopes the report will "establish a
culture of health at individual and population
levels and, in so doing, make healthy lifestyle
choices easy, accessible, affordable and nor-
mative---both at home and away from home."
What you should be eating
It s not just what we eat, it s how we eat
it. When looking into the common charac-
teristics of healthy diets, the committee
focused on research examining dietary pat-
terns, because "the totality of the diet---the
combinations and quantities in which foods
and nutrients are consumed---may have syn-
ergistic and cumulative effects on health and
A healthy dietary pattern is higher in veg-
etables, fruits, whole grains, low- or nonfat
dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts; moderate
in alcohol; lower in red and processed meat;
and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks
and refined grains.
The DGAC encourages dietary patterns
that are low in saturated fat, added sugars
and sodium. The goals for the general pop-
• Less than 2,300 milligrams of dietary
sodium per day.
• Less than 10 per cent of total calories
from saturated fat per day.
• A maximum of 10 per cent of total calo-
ries from added sugars per day.
body & soul
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Cholesterol in food not a concern, new report says
People can now enjoy shrimp
without fear of cholesterol overload.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
News and Advice
For more than a week, speculation has been run-
ning rampant. Here s how it all started.
On February 10, The Washington Post published a
headline that got a good amount of attention: "The
US government is poised to withdraw longstanding
warnings about cholesterol."
Every five years, the Department of Health and
Human Services, along with the Department of Agri-
culture, issues "Dietary Guidelines for Americans," a
federal publication that has far-reaching implications
on what we eat.
The guidelines affect everything from the way com-
panies can advertise their products, to what s in your
child s school lunch, to the diet advice offered up by
nearly every doctor and nutritionist in the country.
Remember the food pyramid from when you were
growing up? Today s iteration, MyPlate, relies on these
guidelines as well. They re also the basis for the infor-
mation on nutrition facts labels on just about all food
So you can see why so many people are anxiously
awaiting the 2015 update.
The 112-page report from 2010 included 23 recom-
mendations for the general population and six additional
recommendations for specific population groups, such
as pregnant women. The three major goals emphasised
• Balance calories with physical activity to manage
• Consume more of certain foods and nutrients
such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and
low-fat dairy products and seafood.
• Consume fewer foods with sodium (salt), saturated
fats, trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars and refined
What s stirring the pot now is one bullet, on one
slide (page 7) of thousands of slides, shown at one of
seven public hearings held over the last two years to
discuss the latest revisions to the guidelines:
"Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern
Inside the advisory report
Sure enough, there it is, buried on page 91 of the
572-page Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guide-
lines Advisory Committee: "Previously, the Dietary
Guidelines for Americans recommended that cholesterol
intake be limited to no more than 300 mg/day. The
2015 DGAC will not bring forward this recommendation
because available evidence shows no appreciable rela-
tionship between consumption of dietary cholesterol
and serum (blood) cholesterol, consistent with the
AHA/ACC (American Heart Association/American
College of Cardiology) report. Cholesterol is not a
nutrient of concern for overconsumption."
What has foodies buzzing is that this is somewhat
of a tectonic shift regarding one of the main nutritional
designations of the foods we eat. Cholesterol has been
a prominent part of dietary warnings and guidelines
since the American Heart Association put the com-
pound in its crosshairs more than half a century ago.
Dr Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular med-
icine at the Cleveland Clinic, told CNN: "The idea we
need to limit saturated fat and cholesterol shifted
Americans from a well-balanced diet to high-sugar
diets, which made people eat more and get fatter."
The reality, according to Nissen, is that only 15 per
cent of circulating cholesterol in the blood comes from
what you eat. The other 85 per cent comes from the
"So if you go on a diet," he says, "you re not changing
your cholesterol very much." Still, nutritionists are
not recommending you go out and binge on cheese-
burgers and fries.
A lot is riding on this decision. Foods that are high
in cholesterol, like eggs, shrimp and lobster, could see
a major uptick in sales. These foods, perhaps limited
inside---or banished from---your home, could make a
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