How have we not yet mentioned the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025? Well, maybe there were a few other newsworthy topics in play, like for instance a global pandemic that has been working in tandem with the previously existing childhood obesity epidemic to create a real mess.
So let’s start with a useful summary from an official U.S. Government website, calling out the top 10 features we should be aware of. First, these suggestions are for everybody, whether they are healthy, sick, or at risk, regardless of what life stage they happen to be in. The recommendations of course need to be “customized” to fit with “personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations.”
That third item covers a lot of ground in real life, what with widespread poverty and some pre-existing conditions like food deserts. Taking safety precautions against COVID-19 is also expensive. Lucky households can afford to have grocery store employees compile their orders and deliver the food and other items to their homes. Some healthy grownups have been unable to go out and shop, even if willing to take the risk, because they need to be home taking care of children, elders, or sick family members.
We are encouraged to choose nutrient-dense foods, sometimes known as the stuff that’s good for you, and to shun “foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium,” otherwise known as junk food. Since we should only consume a limited number of calories each day, we are encouraged to exercise the powers of discretion and choice as thoroughly as possible. The slogan for that concept is, “Make Every Bite Count.”
Oh, and alcohol. Limit alcohol is the government’s advice, and now that everyone is aware of that, it will not make an iota of difference to people who like to drink. Also, the advice is to limit added sugars to less than 10% of the individual’s daily caloric intake. There is an interesting footnote about how the Guidelines…
[…] recommend limiting intakes of added sugars and alcoholic beverages, but do not include changes to quantitative recommendations from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for these two topics, because the new evidence reviewed since the 2015-2020 edition is not substantial enough to support changes to the quantitative recommendations for either added sugars or alcohol.
This passage suggests that members and institutions of the scientific “establishment” have not really gone out of their way to expose the evils of sugar, which shouldn’t be that hard of a job.
These new Guidelines include recommendations for special cases, like pregnant and lactating women. They urge reducing portion sizes. They also emphasize that solutions lie not only in what we eat but how we eat, which includes a lot of shady territory. If you want to change someone’s consumption lifestyle, it is easier to break their jaw (four to six weeks of liquids only) than to break their habits. And yet,
Research shows that the ongoing pattern of an individual’s eating habits has the greatest impact on their health.
Research also shows that the average American achieves a score of only 58 (out of a possible 100) on the Healthy Eating Index quiz. In other words, painful and regrettable words…
Most Americans still do not follow the Dietary Guidelines.
Your responses and feedback are welcome!
Source: “Top 10 Things You Need to Know About the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025,” DietaryGuidelines.gov, undated
Image by U.S. Government/Public Domain