USDA makes new Food Pyramid

  1. USDA makes new Food Pyramid

    And just in case you can't view Medscape..

    USDA Unveils New Food Pyramid

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    April 19, 2005 — Federal officials unveiled new dietary recommendations today, updating the widely known — but mostly ignored — Food Guide Pyramid for the first time in 13 years.

    Officials say they once again hope to make the revamped pyramid, now decorated with a series of colored bands representing food groups, a fixture in schools, physician offices, and health clinics throughout the nation. They also hope that a new emphasis on exercise and moderate eating will finally help make a dent in the U.S. obesity epidemic, now affecting more than one third of adults and nearly one fifth of teens.

    The new pyramid is based on US Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary recommendations released in January. It still emphasizes consumption of grains, fruits, and vegetables with limited amounts of meats, oils, and fat.

    USDA Secretary Mike Johanns described the main thrust of the retooled pyramid as "first and foremost, moderation."

    "Pay attention to what you're eating, moderation, and then exercise. Even a small amount of exercise will make a difference," he said. In addition to familiar cartoon representations of recommended foods, the new pyramid includes a stick-figure human climbing steps to its top, a symbol meant to emphasize physical activity, officials said.

    The new strategy relies heavily on an Internet site designed to help individuals plan their dietary intake based on their age, sex, and level of daily physical activity. Officials billed the new emphasis on individualized diet advice as an improvement over the 1992 Food Guide Pyramid, which issued one set of recommendations averaged out for all Americans.

    "It's become quite familiar, but few Americans follow the recommendations," Mr. Johanns said of the 1992 pyramid. "Every single American can find a MyPyramid that is right for them" with the new system, he pointed out.

    A 55-year-old woman who exercises fewer than 30 minutes is told to consume 1,600 calories per day in a diet consisting of 5.0 ounces of grains, 3.5 ounces of fruits and vegetables, 3 cups of milk and dairy products, and 5.0 ounces of meat and beans. For a man the same age and exercise level, the site calls for a diet limited to 2,000 calories per day.

    The limits are designed for weight maintenance and not necessarily weight loss, said Eric Hentges, executive director of the Center for Nutrition Policy Programs at the USDA and one of the chief architects of the new pyramid.

    "It is not a diet plan, it is a plan for healthy eating," he said. Instead officials hope that consumers will use the Web site to track their daily food intake as a starting point for gradually losing weight.

    "The issue here is getting started. If you're not monitoring, you're likely not going to be able to make progress" losing weight, Mr. Hentges said.

    Industry groups, long opposed to efforts to limit junk food marketing or distribution, praised the guidelines for focusing on exercise and moderation. "It is important that the emphasis remains on positive dietary choices, to ensure good nutrition and adequate hydration," Cal Dooley, president and chief executive officer of the Food Products Association, said in a statement.

    Margo Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, characterized the new pyramid as a modest improvement over the 1992 symbol because of its emphasis on limiting calories and individualized dietary recommendations. But she also criticized the effort for not doing enough to minimize intake of fat- and calorie-dense junk food.

    "USDA really dodged the politically difficult message of encouraging Americans to eat less," she said.

    Ms. Wootan also suggested that the officials' new focus on a Web site to tailor dietary recommendations will do little for consumers without Internet access. "Pinning all their hopes to combat obesity on a Web site is bound to lead to disappointment" and "more deaths," she said.

  2. Is it just me or does 2,000 calories sound a tad over catabolism?

    I don't understand how the Government can't endorse a set of food guidelines that promote true healthy eating. No fat/carb meals, endorsing more protein to aid in fat loss since it's a mild thermogenic, ect.

    But ... they need to avoid lawsuits, why not let the public become unhealthy, be sure to eat your fruits though!

    Good read.

  3. what they want to do is avoid the lobbyists. I was reading an article in the recent mens health issue, and they were talking about this. For quite some time now, they have known that sugar is bad more or less, but yet shy away from saying to limit sugar intake. It is simply because all the sugar producers have a lot of power. The people in charge of deciding on the new food guidlines were pretty much given studies showing why high sugar consumption is bad, but apparently they were lobbied against, then the people doing the studies were told their research was not accurate. Go figure. Needless to say the research was never made public.

    tried finding a link to the article, with no luck

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