You all know that I enjoy reading articles on physical activity, nutrition, and health. You know that I love to run. And I think you know that my job relates to health. Well, then it should be no surprise to you that I was very interested in what the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) had to say. Well, there was a lot to say, so I split it into two blog posts.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans were first released in 1980, and since that time they have provided science-based advice on promoting health and reducing risk of major chronic diseases through a healthy diet and regular physical activity. By law (Public Law 101-445, Title III, 7 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.) the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published by the Federal government every 5 years. To meet this requirement, since the 1985 edition, the Departments have jointly appointed a Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee of nationally recognized experts in the field of nutrition and health to review the scientific and medical knowledge current at the time.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) was established for the task of reviewing the 2010 edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans and developing nutrition and related health recommendations to the Federal government for its subsequent development of the 2015 edition. The evidence described in the 2015 DGAC Report will be used to develop the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Did you know that about half of all American adults–117 million individuals–have one or more preventable chronic diseases that relate to poor quality dietary patterns and physical inactivity. More than 2/3 of adults (155 million individuals) and nearly 1/3 of children and youth are overweight or obese.
Overall, the DGAC found the U.S. diet to be low in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and high in calories, saturated fat, sodium, refined grains, and added sugars. That’s probably no surprise. There is underconsumption of potassium, Vitamin D, calcium, and fiber. Furthermore, more than 49 million people in the U.S. live in food insecure households including 9 million children. Household food insecurity hinders the access to healthy diets for millions of Americans.
So, let’s go into some more detail.
The overall body of evidence examined by the 2015 DGAC identifies that a healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains. This is probably common knowledge to everyone reading this.
Vegetables and fruit are the only characteristics of a diet that were consistently identified in every conclusion statement across the health outcomes. Whole grains were identified slightly less consistently compared to vegetables and fruits, but were identified in every conclusion with moderate to strong evidence. For studies with limited evidence, grains were not as consistently defined and/or they were not identified as a key characteristic. Low- or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, nuts, and alcohol were identified as beneficial characteristics of the diet for some, but not all, health outcomes. For conclusions with moderate to strong evidence, higher intake of red and processed meats was identified as detrimental compared to lower intake. Higher consumption of sugar-sweetened foods and beverages as well as refined grains was identified as detrimental in almost all conclusion statements with moderate to strong evidence.
Footnote: And this is important for all meat eaters. Lean meats were not consistently defined or handled similarly between studies; therefore, they were not identified as a common characteristic across the reviews. However, as demonstrated in the food pattern modeling of the Healthy U.S.-style and Healthy Mediterranean-style patterns, lean meats can be a part of a healthy dietary pattern.
Want more detail?
The DGAC found moderate and promising evidence that multi-component obesity prevention approaches implemented in child care settings, schools, and worksites improve weight-related outcomes. Woohoo! This is great news! There was strong to moderate evidence that school and worksite policies are associated with improved dietary intake; and moderate evidence that multi-component school-based and worksite approaches increase vegetable and fruit consumption. (I just posted about how a study found that children were eating more fruits and veggies at school.)
A lot people are worried about contaminated food. I also do a lot of work in foodborne illness, so this has been much higher on my radar lately.
Regarding contaminants in fish, for the majority of wild caught and farmed species, neither the risks of mercury nor organic pollutants outweigh the health benefits of seafood consumption. So, keep eating fish!
The authors also cite that there is strong evidence shows that consumption of coffee within the moderate range (3 to 5 cups per day or up to 400 mg/d caffeine) is not associated with increased long-term health risks among healthy individuals. In fact, consistent evidence indicates that coffee consumption is associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in adults. I’m sure there were a lot of people excited to hear this!
The DGAC also examined the food additive aspartame. At the level that the U.S. population consumes aspartame, it appears to be safe. However, some uncertainty continues about increased risk of hematopoietic cancer in men, indicating a need for more research.
Whew! You just read a lot of information! I think I will stop there for now.
So, how about Wisconsin beating Kentucky the other night in the Final Four!? I couldn’t believe it! K&T were kind enough to stay up late so that A and I could watch the game at their house (I don’t have cable.). And what a game it was! I love a close sports game! We will see what happens to the Badgers against Duke tonight!
A and I also watched this cute pup over the weekend! Isn’t he just adorable?
Food for Thought: Tart Cherries. They sooth pain and neutralize free radicals so you can recover faster.
Quote of the Day:
“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
I know I said I don’t have much luck with the slow cooker, but this Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler turned out pretty darn tasty! I was thoroughly impressed! And it was in the Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook! Score! If you don’t have much luck with a crock pot (like me), you should definitely give this recipe a whirl!
Slow Cooker Berry Cobbler
– 1 1/4 cups AP flour, divided
– 2 tablespoons + 1 cup sugar, divided
– 1 teaspoon baking powder
– 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
– 1 egg, lightly beaten
– 1/4 cup fat-free milk
– 2 tablespoons canola oil
– 1/8 teaspoon salt
– 2 cups unsweetened raspberries
– 2 cups unsweetened blueberries
– vanilla ice-cream
– In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, 2 tablespoons sugar, baking powder and cinnamon.
– In a small bowl, combine the egg, milk, and oil; stir into dry ingredients until just moistened (batter will be thick). Spread the batter evenly onto the bottom of a 5-quart slow cooker coated with cooking spray.
– In a large bowl, combine the salt and remaining flour and sugar; add berries and toss to coat. Spread over batter.
– Cover and cook on high for 2 to 2.5 hours or until a toothpick inserted into the cobbler comes out without crumbs.
Courtesy of Taste of Home Comfort Food Diet Cookbook