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Dr. King’s Commentary on America’s Changing Dietary Guidelines

Dr. King’s Commentary on America’s Changing Dietary Guidelines

 

 

Crucial Changes Critics are Watching:

  • Restrict added sugars
  • Ease previous cholesterol and fat restrictions
  • Still focus on eating more unsaturated fats in place of saturated fats

 

Elaine King, M.D., says

From China’s Food Pagoda to Greece’s Food Pyramid, when cereals, grains, bread, pasta and other starchy carbohydrates are placed as the base of the diet while fats are near the top as a “use sparingly” category, these eating patterns can lead to health problems including weight gain, fuzzy thinking and heart disease.”

…in response to past guidelines that emphasized restricting fat and cholesterol to improve heart disease. Most critics agree that these guidelines fueled high-carbohydrate diets of refined grains and added sugars that worsened disease trends for some.

”We need to differentiate between “good proteins” and “bad proteins” since dietary fat from healthy sources has been shown to help reduce heart disease risk, lower blood sugars, increase weight loss and maintain proper brain function.”

A common outcome of previous guidelines was to advise patients to stop eating fatty meat, “bad protein”, to eating lean meats as a “good protein”. This sometimes led patients to cut out all fat, thinking it was fat in general that was bad for their health.

“I work with my patients individually to find a nutrition plan that is best for his/her genetic makeup and lifestyle.”

While guidelines are a helpful baseline, they need to be customized for individual application.

 

Brief Background

Since 1916, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has been providing diagrams and basic eating recommendations in the name of public health. For a really cool and quick history lesson, check out this timeline of our food pyramids. The process has matured into a Dietary Guidelines publication that is updated every five years by the USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). We keep a close eye on these guidelines since they largely shape America’s eating habits and have had mixed results on our population health. This year a committee of selected nutrition and medical experts has submitted changes that are open for public review until April 8.

 

Photo courtesy of http://www.choosemyplate.gov/food-groups/downloads/MyPlate/ABriefHistoryOfUSDAFoodGuides.pdf

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