2005 Dietary Guidelines
Q: I saw on the news not long ago that the new 2005 Dietary Guidelines were released by the government. What exactly are they?
A: Every five years, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture update and publish Dietary Guidelines for Americans that provide government guidance on how to eat a healthy diet.
The first guidelines were published in 1980, and while the basic idea of how to eat a healthy diet has stayed pretty much the same, the guidelines have gotten much more specific over time.
With this latest update, there were 41 specific guidelines, including the recommendation to eat 4-1/2 cups of fruits and vegetables a day, at least 3 1-oz. servings of whole grains, 3 servings of low-fat dairy products, to cut back on sugary foods and drinks, limit sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams a day and to keep intake of trans fatty acids to a bare minimum.
Trans fatty acids are found mainly in processed foods that contain hydrogenated oils.
The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan, though originally designed as a diet for high blood pressure, is offered up as an ideal way to follow the Dietary Guidelines, because it incorporates all the suggestions for eating healthfully, including the recommendation to eat 4 to 5 servings of nuts, such as pecans, each week, because they’re rich sources of magnesium potassium, protein and fiber.