Sunday, July 26, 2009

FDA Guidelines - or - Why we don't know what to eat.

Who at the FDA thinks making food guidelines MORE complicated is going to help people eat better?

They are updated every 5 years. They come with a multi-page press release. There are 41 key guidelines – only 23 of which most people have to worry about. But if you fall into a “special population” there are 18 more to wade through.

41! Forty-One!? Most people (including me) cannot easily name 41 of anything in a single category.

And the dietary guidelines are notably difficult to find. As I am browsing the website that is purportedly where one goes to learn about the US Government’s nutrition guidelines, I keep clicking on links that say 2005 Nutrition Guidelines. They only get me to pages that tell me things about the 2005 Nutrition Guidelines, but do not provide me access. If I were looking this up out of general curiosity, instead of to prove a point. I would give up by now.

Why am I digging for food guidelines? I think they are needlessly complicated – and I want to see them for sure. And yes they ARE.

The first set of guideline reads:

Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods an beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt and alcohol.

Meet recommended intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern, such as the USDA food guide or the DASH Eating Plan.

Which leaves the average reader wondering things like: What is a “nutrient-dense” food? What do they mean by “within and among the basic food groups?” What are the basic food groups? Are there advanced ones?

Ahhh! What are saturated fats? Where are trans fats – why are they so bad? What’s the difference between added sugars and regular ones? Are other sugars OK? Are people adding alcohol to my food?

Recommended intakes? Who’s recommending? Intake? Like eating? An eating pattern? Can I just have lunch? Wait, the Eating Plan… what about an eating pattern? Which one is better?

These guidelines leave one with research to do, but not a clue about what to do at the next meal!

I need a snack to clear my head. I'm not sure if it will be good for me, but at this point, I don't care.


Steinar Arason said...

Very nice and informative blog you have here. Good work! And I followed you to keep up with your post.

See you around my friend.

Steinar Arason
"Improve Your Blog"

Medical Information said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.