New Dietary Guidelines Sound Familiar

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services have issued the latest diet guidelines. Among them, eat more fruits and veggies, particularly dark-green and other colorful vegetables, and cut down on the fats, sodium, and sugars. The emphasis of these latest guidelines are “reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity,” the press release says.

These recommendations may sound familiar to many people. Still, according to USA Today, “about two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the USA are overweight or obese.”

Silk, which makes a variety of milk alternatives like almond milk, issued a press release for a survey of dietitians it conducted between between December 21, 2010 and January 3, 2011, which found that “while a plant-based diet is emphasized in the new Guidelines, 61 percent of dietitians believe Americans don’t understand what a plant-based diet is.” While this is all to see more Silk products, it does raise the issue of how government agencies and others are communicating and educating about healthy eating.

Another poll by Consumer Reports found that 90 percent of people believe they do eat healthy even while many miss the mark. Part of the health reform law will require that menus post calories for items, which might not help either, although some experts think that restaurants might be embarrassed to admit how many calories some of their menu items have.

How can the guidelines be better used to reach consumers?