New US food guidelines sound like Michael Pollan

June 23, 2010 at 10:38 pm 1 comment

Remember when the government’s food pyramid looked like an ad for the beef, pork, poultry and dairy industries? And the Reagan administration tried to convince us that ketchup and pickle relish were vegetables?

Never mind that studies showed Americans were consuming way too much fat, salt and sugar and way  too little fruits and vegetables.  USDA officials kept on telling us to fill our plates with steak, cheese and bread; they were afraid to mention too loudly that soda and and potato chips weren’t so good for us.

Well the times they are a changin’ my friends.  It took a major health crisis to get their attention, but federal officials have finally admitted that obesity and diabetes are killing us and that we have to change our eating habits.

Obama’s agriculture and health advisers are ready to turn the page with brand new federal dietary guidelines. (Never underestimate the influence of the First Lady.)

Some of the guidelines sound like Michael Pollan: eat real food, not too much, mostly plants. Seriously.

Suzanne Havala Hobbs at UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health has a great summary of the most surprising recommendations in the proposed guidelines on her fine blog, On the Table, which I’ve excerpted here:

  • “Move to a plant-based diet. Eat less meat, and make fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and nuts the foundation of your diet.
  • “Increase your kitchen IQ. Get educated about nutrition, and learn to cook for yourself. Learn basic food safety skills, and eat more meals at home.
  • “Support greater access to fresh fruits and vegetables for everybody by increasing their availability in grocery stores, farmers markets and other outlets.
  • “Advocate greener, sustainable approaches to the growth and distribution of vegetables, fruits and whole-grain breads and cereals.
  • “Put pressure on the food industry, including restaurants, to offer healthier foods lower in sodium and added sugar, with more whole grains, fewer solid fats and smaller portions.”

Officials also want to know what we think. You have until July 15 to send in your comments. You can learn more and read the executive summary and full report online.

If the administration adopts these recommendations, they may just have to put some new policies and resources on the table to help fulfill them. Now that would be change we can believe in.

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Entry filed under: Commentary, food access, Politics/ Policy, School Lunch, Sustainable Food. Tags: , , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. aarghawk  |  January 1, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    STOP food additives and engineered food!!!

    Reply

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