New Dietary Guidelines for Americans

This week, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius released a draft report entitled the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.  In the face of widespread dietary misinformation and an epidemic of obesity, the draft report examines both what Americans are eating and what we should be eating, based on the existing science.  Written comments on the draft are welcome, and are encouraged to be submitted through July 15, 2010.  Oral testimony may be provided at a July 8 public meeting in Washington, DC.  When it’s finalized and released at the end of the year, the report will be the basis for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and replace the 2005 Dietary Guidelines.

The Natural Products Association has expressed “serious concern about the direction of the report, most notably statements such as ‘a daily multivitamin/mineral supplement does not offer health benefits to healthy Americans.’”  NPA’s Executive Director and CEO John Gay questions how Americans could be getting all their needed vitamins and minerals when “less than 25 percent of the U.S. population eats the recommended serving of five fruits and vegetables daily…?”  He says that advising people to stop taking a daily multivitamin “doesn’t seem logical or responsible.” According to Dr. Jose Antonio of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN), “The fact that most individuals in the United States are overweight and out of shape indicates to me that eating clean and taking a multivitamin is not on their top 10 list of things they should do. Everyone should take a daily multivitamin just to ensure that you get sufficient amounts of micronutrients.”

Another topic of interest in the report concerned daily protein requirements.  The draft report does not address whether individuals who exercise intensely, for example, have a higher need for dietary protein.  The failure to address the point may mislead those Americans seeking to improve their health through resistance exercise.  The International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: protein and exercise, published in 2007 and reassessed in 2009, points out that “Vast research supports the contention that individuals engaged in regular exercise training require more dietary protein than sedentary individuals.”

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