The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The overarching theme of the 2010 Guidelines is the need to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

In coming months, USDA and HHS will revise their nutrition policies and recommendations, such as the Food Pyramid, based on the Guidelines. Additionally, the report states, “the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has the potential to offer authoritative statements as provided for in the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act (FDAMA).” Food and beverage companies should review the report carefully for potential FDAMA claims. This summary identifies certain statements in the report that characterize the relationship between certain foods and substances in foods and a reduced risk of chronic disease. (For the full text of this article, visit the February 7, 2011, issue of E-ditionin the E-ditionArchives at

Key Recommendations and Themes
Traditionally, the Dietary Guidelines are intended for healthy Americans, 2 years and older. However, in light of the issues presented by obesity, the 2010 edition is intended for all Americans, 2 years and older, including those at increased risk of chronic disease. Among the recommendations to combat obesity are:

Balance Calories to Manage Weight. Suggestions to manage weight include: increasing intake of whole grains, vegetables and fruit; reducing intake of sugar-sweetened beverages; monitoring intake of 100% fruit juice for children and adolescents, especially those who are overweight; and monitoring calorie intake from alcoholic beverages.

Foods and Food Components to Reduce. The Guidelines advise reduced consumption of several nutrients and foods because of their potential to increase the risk of certain chronic diseases. This includes sodium (daily sodium intake should be reduced to less than 2,300mg, a 100mg per day reduction from current recommendations). The Guidelines advise sodium intake should be reduced to 1,500mg among persons who are 51 and older, African-American, or who have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. <br><br>
Less than 10% of calories should be consumed from saturated fatty acids. Saturated fats should be replaced with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Daily intake of dietary cholesterol should be limited to 300mg or less, and the consumption of trans fats should be kept as low as possible, by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats and by limiting other solid fats.

The Guidelines recommend reducing the intake of calories from solid fats and from added sugars. Furthermore, the Guidelines suggest limiting the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars and sodium.

Foods and Food Components to Increase. The Guidelines also recommend an increase in certain areas, particularly fruit and vegetable consumption, noting the majority of fruit should come from whole fruits, including fresh, canned, frozen or dried forms. As for vegetables, variety is key, with consumers advised to consume dark-green, red and orange vegetables, beans and peas.

At least half of all grains should be whole grains, and individuals that consume all of their grains as whole grains are encouraged to include whole grains fortified with folic acid.

Fat-free and low-fat milk and milk product consumption should increase. With regard to the health benefits of consuming milk and milk products, the Guidelines characterize the evidence as “moderate” regarding (1) the link to improved bone health, especially in children and adolescents; and (2) the association with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Choose a variety of protein foods, such as seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, unsalted nuts and seeds. Furthermore, consumers should increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry. According to the Guidelines, “Moderate evidence shows that consumption of 8 ounces per week of a variety of seafood, which provides an average consumption of 250mg per day of EPA and DHA, is associated with reduced cardiac deaths among individuals with and without pre-existing cardiovascular disease.” pf