New Dietary Guidelines for Americans in the Works

In 1980, several things happened: Airplane!, Caddyshack and Fame debuted in theaters, Christopher Cross released “Sailing,” which went on to be named Record of the Year, and The David Letterman Show first aired on NBC. Also, while perhaps less memorable to pop-culture aficionados, the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines were first published. You know, the Guidelines. You can’t dance to them, but they do play a significant role in our national conversation about food.

A Congressional mandate requires that these guidelines be revised every five years, and 2010 is one of those years. With the release of an advisory report prepared by a committee of university-based nutrition and health experts, yesterday marked the beginning of a month-long public comment period before the final revisions are made.

According to outspoken NYU professor of nutrition Marion Nestle, who wrote about the advisory report on her blog Food Politics, there are likely to be few surprises in the content of the committee's recommendations. In other words, expect to be told to maintain a reasonable weight, up your exercise, and reduce your intake of saturated fats and sodium. The real juiciness, she predicts, will come from the political wrangling among the various interest groups who have a financial stake in what the final report ultimately recommends.

I suppose we’ll have to stay tuned to see how this shakes out. In the meantime, check out the advisory report yourself here. You can also view and submit your comments online.

How closely do you think you follow the USDA recommended dietary guidelines?


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Cheryl Sternman Rule is a widely-published food writer and the voice behind the blog 5 Second Rule. Read all of Cheryl's iVillage posts here.

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