The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is meant to encourage a healthful diet to promote health and prevent chronic disease. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines every five years using the 500-page 2015 Dietary Guideline Advisory Report (DGAR), which was just released last week.
Some laudable direct quotes from this report include:
I suspect that some of these shifts, like eating less red meat or citing the importance of our environmental footprint, will call the attention of powerful lobbyists on Capitol Hill and whether it will make it into the actual published guidelines remains to be seen.
With future articles and discussions in the comments section, I hope to wax poetic about specific food and nutrition politics including the ironic nature of agriculture subsidies to create a (corn) sweetener on the back-end and then tax it (sunny California) on front-end consumerism. Not to mention the $80 billion or so we spend on healthcare costs annually. I plan to write about nutrition and health topics including inflammation, fatigue, the power of mood, the sweet and vicious nature of sugar and more.
But in the spirit of this new release, I think it is important to review some things to do today, starting right now, for a better and healthier tomorrow.
While our genes help determine things like our eye color, height or risk of heart disease, it is wrong to think that we do not have some influence over them. Our environments, which include our diets, minds and lifestyle have the ability to finesse which genes and proteins are activated or deactivated.
While the Standard American Diet is fraught with imbalance. what remains subject to debate is exactly how it is imbalanced. The DGAR report reminds us that this continues to be discussed and debated. Is it the presence of ‘bad’ nutrients such as saturated fat or sugar? Or is it the absence of ‘good’ nutrients like fiber or omega-3 fatty acids? The public, in turn, is left feeling kind of pushed around. While any one of these nutrients may hold dietary responsibility for this or that chronic disease, I suspect the greater problem with the Western Diet is less direct and more systemic.
Live well today with these recommendations:
If these recommendations sound a little new-agey to you, it’s probably because “health food” has gotten a bad rap. Eating well does not mean bland or boring. Just cooking one meal more per week from whole foods improves your diet, a component to your genetic environment, to help you live a healthier tomorrow.
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