Prominent nutrition experts want the federal government to hone the diet advice proposed for the upcoming 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to make it clearer for the public, saying that the messages about carbohydrates and fats "are so vague as to be meaningless."
The Dietary Guidelines, which are issued by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), are the cornerstone of government nutrition policies and the basis of the Food Pyramid. They are updated every five years by a panel of eminent nutritionists, medical professionals and fitness experts. New guidelines are slated to be unveiled in early 2005, and the latest review committee recently delivered its recommendations.
In a letter to HHS dated September 21, more than 25 experts from across the country praised the science behind the key nutrition messages in the 2005 Dietary Guidelines but said they should be more specific. "The messages also must provide direct advice that people can understand and use to improve their diets. In particular, the messages concerning carbohydrates and fats are so vague as to be meaningless," they wrote.
The 2005 Dietary Guidelines suggest that people choose fats and carbohydrates "wisely for good health." The recommendations are to keep saturated fat intake below 10 percent of calories, trans fat intake below one percent of calories and cholesterol intake below 300 milligrams per day, and to limit intake of refined sugars.
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