US Government Releases New Dietary Guidelines, A Step In The Right Direction (Mostly!)
When it comes to nutrition, the government’s nutrition guidelines have consistently gotten it all (or, at least at lot of it) wrong.
They made fat the enemy. Big mistake.
They said all calories were created equal. Wrong.
They made us think all carbs were the same (and bad). Not the case.
Needless to say, we were a bit skeptical when we heard the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Agriculture released a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
But they’re definitely taking a step in the right direction… here’s what they (and I!) have to say…
An Individualized Approach
One thing they definitely got right this time is saying that “There is more than one type of healthy eating pattern.”
As holistic nutritionists have said for ages, if there were one best diet for everyone, there would be one best-selling diet book and everyone would be fit and healthy.
Clearly that’s not the case.
The best diet for you may be very different than the best diet for me – it’s why gluten makes some people bloat and breakout while others feel dandy! It’s great to see the government acknowledging that we need more than a one-size fits all approach to diet.
It’s About Eating Well, Not Being “On A Diet”
Another point they get right: it’s “about a lifetime of healthy eating.”
It’s not about going on a diet that limits food groups for a few months and yo-yo-ing back and forth between healthy and unhealthy patterns. It’s about finding something sustainable that makes you feel good. It’s about dark leafy greens and fruit and whole grains. But it’s also about cupcakes and chocolate and pie and potato chips. (Fine, they didn’t say that, but I did!) What they are saying (or at least it’s how I interpret it!) is that it’s not about deprivation and being “on a diet” but rather about finding a healthy, sustainable way to live and eat.
It’s Okay To Eat Cupcakes.
They also reiterate that small changes add up. A lot of us approach eating healthfully as a winner-takes-all game. You’re either living on kale and, well, kale. Or cupcakes. But that’s neither sustainable, nor fun. (Okay, the cupcake part might be, but you’ll also likely feel like shit after a day or so of sugar-loading!).
Rather, it’s about moderation. It’s about eating salads and soups and whole grains, but it’s also about indulging in your favorite foods without guilt. (Not convinced, click here.)
Just because they’re getting more right, doesn’t mean they’re getting at all right…
Some things they’re still getting wrong: the obsession with fat-free and low-fat (especially dairy, see above), the focus on calories, and the failure to distinguish between different types of saturated fats (AKA the medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil versus the long chain triglycerides found in red meat, for example).
But, ya know, at least it’s a step in the right direction!