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The U.S. government recommends eating more fresh fruits and veggies and whole grains, slashing calorie and soft drink intake, and increasing exercise—all tips designed to tackle America’s ballooning obesity epidemic. But will Americans listen?
Salt, processed foods and sugary drinks were singled out as dietary hot spots in the U.S. government's latest nutrition guidelines, released today. Unveiled every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the new dietary guidelines echo the government’s previous advice to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, replace white flour and other refined grains with whole grains, cut back on salt and saturated fat intake, and increase exercise. Yet, this advice was given in a stricter tone necessitated by America’s ballooning obesity epidemic.
"It's important to have guidelines that will help us deal with that issue of obesity," said USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack in releasing the guidelines. "These new and improved dietary recommendations give individuals the information to make thoughtful choices of healthier foods in the right portions and to complement those choices with physical activity."
The bottom line, according to the guidelines, is that Americans should consume less food, while enjoying the food they do eat.
Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, told The New York Times that she appreciates the “clarity” the USDA has provided on the specific foods people should reduce or avoid. Nestle, who often criticizes the government’s nutrition guidelines, also liked the agency’s message about the importance of enjoying one’s food.