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Monday, March 9, 2015

WSJ: Food for Thought on Healthy Eating Guidelines

It's no wonder that consumers are and have been confused for some time when it comes to food serving sizes. For starters, as discussed in the article that came out in The Wall Street Journal from this past weekend, there is confusion between two different sources that we look to for guidance -- the dietary guidelines published by the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture (online) as they both contain conflicting information.

What really is a proper serving? One ounce, two ounces? And how do you really measure those amounts? Do they vary? Our government provides conflicting information as well with regard to what the latest health food is these days such as -- are cholesterol and certain fats really all that bad and are coffee and alcohol really given a bad rap or enough praise and so on.

The USDA and HHS dietary guidelines revise their guidelines every 5 years basing these revisions on the latest medical and scientific research conducted by experts. More confusion occurs with what the FDA provides us regarding the proper serving sizes that are printed on packaged foods. How up-to-date are these labels and how often do they change and do they keep up with our changing times? Americans eat so much more than they did even 20 or 30 years ago and our foods are processed more now than ever. Yes, food processing has been around for a long time, but our foods are really far from what real food should be and the portion-sizes are certainly double what they should be.

While the real benefits of food processing -- which has been around for many, many years -- is meant to provide preservation and food consistency, it has become more and more exploited by big food corporations that are making the big bucks at the cost of people's health. Hence, this is where the confusion begins and well...remains.

As we see some positive visual changes with what our dinner plates should look like --as provided by the current USDA and HHS dietary guidelines, the FDA seems to be "muddying the waters" by including nutrition information to help consumers compare similar products, but they don't provide serving sizes. What the FDA gives as information to the public is the actual amount of food that they typically eat (from a can, box or bag) rather than the appropriate amount they should be eating.

Here you will find proposed labeling that the FDA will be providing in the near future. Also,
find the suggested servings per each food group provided by the American Heart Association here.



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