Yesterday's announcement about the change in dietary guidelines by the U.S. government has been getting a lot of play, and at first I couldn't figure out why. As the guidelines recommend we eat more fruits and vegetables, and consume fewer calories, it sounded like the same thing we've been hearing from nutritionists and celebrity chefs for years. This is news?
It wasn't until I dug a little deeper to find out why our nutritional guidelines haven't been updated in such an obvious manner that I realized this was progress. Apparently the food lobby has been fighting to keep this healthy info out of the hands, and off the plates, of Americans.
Oooh, I love blaming a powerful and ominous-sounding "food lobby" for obesity in America. It feels so sinister, and at the same time takes any responsibility off the individual! Still, I have to wonder why now? Did the food lobby have an off year?
Most likely technology forced this change. After all, you don't have to search very far to find people discussing portion control, processed foods, and their role in the widening of American asses. So again I had to wonder -- is this dietary information even relevant to today's online Americans?
Well, yes. If history is any indication. When the guidelines shifted to recommend whole grains over refined grains in 2005, major food manufacturers began to change production to fall in line with these recommendations. The government also hopes this year's guidelines will encourage farmers to plant more fruits and vegetables, and restaurants to reduce their portion sizes.
As major food companies such as Campbell's begin to reduce sodium in their foods as a result of the government recommendations on reducing salt in processed foods, you can see this is a realistic goal. With national guidelines in mind, companies such as Kraft and General Mills are also adapting and making more healthful foods.
So even though these guidelines seem like common sense to the average consumer, it takes a nationwide recommendation to get some people to pay attention.
Do you follow the government's dietary guidelines?
Image via LCBGlenn/Flickr