The new dietary guidelines proposed by the Department of Agriculture seem a lot like Michael Pollan's mantra: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." The proposed guidelines — which are updated every five years — seem to take aim at America's obesity crisis. Current figures indicate that one-third of all Americans are obese, with even more individuals being considered overweight.
The proposed guidelines emphasize the importance of a healthy diet, suggesting a reduction of sodium intake from 2,300 milligrams to 1,500 milligrams per day and also an increase in the amount of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, nuts, and legumes we eat. A small amount of lean meats, poultry, and eggs are recommended, as well as seafood and low-fat dairy. What's not recommended are sugary sodas and saturated fats — both of these items were specifically called out as big no-nos on the list. And while the recommendations may not sound too different than what's been put forth in the past, the urgency to get all of America on board is.
But changing the guidelines and getting people to follow them are two different things. The hope is that after a review process, these guidelines will go into effect and start influencing government school lunch programs, food labeling and manufacturing, and other public food programs like Meals on Wheels. Will these new guidelines influence you, or are you already eating this way?