New U.S. Guidelines More Veggies Fish Whole Grains

New U.S. Guidelines More Veggies Fish Whole Grains

The curtain is​ rising on the new U.S. dietary guidelines and it​ looks like fresh produce, fish and whole grains are going to​ be center stage.

If the rest of​ the recommendations follow such a​ promising preview, the new guidelines will be a​ step toward combating obesity and related ailments such as​ cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

Data from the National Weight Control Registry, which maintains records on more than 4,000 individuals who have had success keeping off a​ minimum of​ 30 pounds for more than a​ year, suggests that the winning strategy for long-term weight loss is​ a​ low-fat, complex-carbohydrate diet rich in​ fruits and vegetables.

Moreover, decades of​ research on the diverse benefits of​ the vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals found in​ such foods led to​ the National Cancer Institute's approval of​ the dietary guidance: "Diets rich in​ fruits and vegetables may reduce the risk of​ some types of​ cancer and other chronic diseases."

Based on such evidence, the committee is​ expected to​ increase its recommendation of​ five to​ nine daily servings of​ fruits and vegetables to​ thirteen servings. This may seem daunting to​ Americans used to​ gargantuan servings of​ unhealthy fast food, until one realizes just how relatively modest an​ actual serving size turns out to​ be: a​ half cup of​ spinach, two apricots, a​ sliver of​ avocado, a​ carrot, 3/4 cup of​ pineapple.

Importantly, while the new guidelines tell us to​ increase consumption of​ certain foods - fish, produce and whole grains among them - they are also expected to​ advise cutting back on others. in​ particular, Americans will be urged to​ minimize consumption of​ saturated and trans fats, added sugars and salt.

Who will be the winners and losers when the anticipated guidelines get handed down? Manufacturers of​ refined carbohydrate products - white breads, cookies, sugary cereals - won't be happy. Neither will low-carb product makers, given the panel's debunking of​ the glycemic index as​ an​ effective weight-loss tool. But the decision should buoy produce farmers, fisheries, and those who sell fruits and vegetables.

Said David H. Murdock, chairman and owner of​ Dole Food Company, the largest producer and marketer of​ fruits and vegetables, who himself follows a​ fish-vegetarian diet: "I'm glad the federal government has finally caught up to​ what I've been preaching for years: Stick to​ a​ natural diet of​ whole foods like fruits and vegetables, and nature will reward you with a​ long lifetime of​ good health."

Jennifer Grossman is​ the director of​ the Dole Nutrition Institute. - NU

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