2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines and Georgia Pecans

Q: What do the new 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines have to say about including pecans in the diet?

A: Though the Guidelines haven’t been finalized yet, the preliminary report issued by the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee clearly recognizes nuts, including pecans, as nutrient-rich foods that should be included regularly in the diet of Americans. In fact, one of the major recommendations of the report is that Americans shift to more plant-based diets that emphasize nuts as well as seeds, vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits and whole grains. For the first time, the report provides specific guidance on vegetarian and vegan diets, as well as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet and presents all three as examples of healthful dietary options. In addition, the report concluded, as a result of evidence reviewed by the committee, that consumption of nuts, as part of a nutritionally adequate, calorie-controlled diet, may reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and the LDL: HDL cholesterol ratio in the blood. The report also recognized nuts, including pecans, as sources of protein, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber and vitamin E in the American diet. The final USDA Dietary Guidelines, which are revised and released every five years, are expected to be published in November, 2010.

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