The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released (31 Jan), emphasising the importance of consuming a balanced diet, eating less sodium and more nutrient dense foods and carefully monitoring what Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack characterised as “calories in, calories out.”
Underscoring that the Guidelines affirm the role that lean meat and poultry can play in a balanced diet, AMI Executive Vice President James H. Hodges said, “Meat and poultry products are some the most nutrient dense foods available, are excellent sources of complete protein, iron and zinc and maintain an excellent nutrition per calorie ratio. Complete proteins provide all of the essential amino acids necessary for growth and good overall health.”
The guidelines include 23 key recommendations for the general public and six for specific groups like pregnant women. Key recommendations include:
- Increase in vegetable and fruit intake;
- Increase whole grain consumption;
- Eat a variety of protein foods;
- Eat more fish;
- Replace protein foods higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oil.
“It is noteworthy that the government’s previous recommendation that consumers eat five to seven ounces from the meat, poultry and beans group will remain unchanged. This makes sense because the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s documents show that the meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts group is the only group that is consumed in the recommended amount,” Hodges said.
News reports seized on the Guidelines new recommendation to reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduction to 1,500 mg for almost half of the U.S. population, including those 51 and older, and those of any age who are African American, have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
“An analysis of the top 20 sodium contributing foods consumed by Americans shows that only three of these foods are meat products or food products that contain meat,” Hodges said. “Still, the meat industry is actively responding with efforts expand its low and reduced sodium offerings in an effort to meet different nutrition needs.”
AMI is a member of the MyPyramid Partnership and will continue to voice support for the premise that a well-balanced diet, proper portion sizes and exercise are keys to overall good health and wellness.
“Our industry is committed to nourishing people. Not only do we offer the most affordable meat supply in the world, we also offer the most diverse meat and poultry supply, too. The meat case includes a growing array of lean, low-fat and low-sodium products that help people find products that meet their unique dietary needs – and products they will enjoy,” Hodges said.
“These recommendations highlight the long-standing body of science that says in very clear terms that the key to a healthy lifestyle is a balanced diet that includes each of the key food groups, coupled with daily exercise,” Hodges added.