Just What You've Been Waiting For!
February 5th, 2011 - By Therese Madden
Every 5 years the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services come out with new guidelines and the 2010 edition is hot off the presses. Find out what's changed and what it means for you. The USDA's new dietary guidelines are out. Find out what's changed and what it means for you.
MORE: Take a look at the USDA's new dietary guidelines for yourself.
The 2010 Dietary guidelines! I know, it's 2011, but it seems even the Government and a group of dietitians are not immune to a little procrastination. "These are a little late because there was so much people needed to discuss and make sure that it was in agreement in the scientific community throughout the country," says Althea Zanecosky. She is the spokesperson for the Philadelphia Dietetic Association. Here's what the guidelines mean to her, "the holy grail for dietitians! We follow what the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services do, and they do this every five years."
The federal guidelines were first published in 1980, the last one in 2005. So what's new? Unsurprisingly, the latest version tells us to consume less salt, eat more whole grains, and cut down on fat and sugar. Sounds about right. So what's different? Zanecosky says, "things have changed. Obesity is even more of crisis than was 5 years ago so that's in the guidelines, eating more foods that come from plants are in the guidelines."
But do people even know there are new guidelines? And if they do, do they pay attention to what the government tells them to eat? Let's find out…
"Excuse me can I ask you guys a question, did you know that the 2010 dietary guidelines just came out?" "No…"
"I didn't know it…"
"I know they were going to come out, not sure when they were, but I knew they were going to."
"Does it mean anything to you?" "You know, I don't pay too much attention to them, because we eat the way we eat."
But these guidelines do affect how many Americans eat, whether they know it or not. Zanecosky explains, "the government uses it for feeding programs, so place where implemented to the greatest degree are places where the government is involved, school lunch, WIC, food stamps,which now has a different name. All of the feeding programs for the elderly."
That's a lot of people. Take just the children, a lot of kids eat both breakfast and lunch at school. That's two out of the three meals a day.
Wayne Grasela is the Senior Vice President for the Division of Food Services at the School District of Philadelphia. He says they've been anticipating the new guidelines and have already been adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to the school cafeterias. Grasela says lowering the sodium is trickier because the high sodium foods are often products that have been made elsewhere. "The goal is going to be to move away from processed foods because obviously processed foods contain more sodium products, and thats kind of what makes it tasty. The challenge is going to be how to get items with less sodium that are processed, or go move away from processed items which are not necessarily labor friendly."
The bottom line, cooking from scratch takes more time, and costs more money. But the School District says they are determined to do as much as possible. As for the dietitians? What is Zanecosky's hope for the 2015 guidelines? She too, is thinking of the kids, "my greatest joy would be to see the overweight problem go back in the other direction. It'll be a generation as Michelle Obama said. She was hoping that with some of campaign that she has had, that children in one generation will be fit and slimmer."