The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is considering both the prevalence of diet-related diseases and the COVID-19COVID-19 \ ˈkō-vid-nīn-ˈtēn : a mild to severe respiratory illness that is caused by a coronavirus (Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 of the genus Betacoronavirus), is transmitted chiefly by contact with infectious material (such as respiratory droplets), and is characterized especially by fever, cough, and shortness of breath and may progress to pneumonia and respiratory failure. epidemic when establishing the 2020-2025 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Authored by an advisory committee made up of 20 health experts, the consequential nutrition report will form the basis of the next five years of federal dietary guidance.
The 835-page 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report provides an overview on the latest nutrition science and incorporates nutrition studies and research as well as more than 62,000 public comments. The committee took a renewed focus on dietary patterns and looked further into Americans’ need for more fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and more, in their diets. The USDA and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) are accepting written public comments on the committee’s final report through Aug. 13.
“Science-based dietary guidance is critical to ensuring a healthy future for America,” Brandon Lipps, USDA Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services Deputy Under Secretary, said. The Dietary Committee began work on the guidelines in March, 2019 and the new guidelines are expected to be issued in December 2020.
Among the findings: Most Americans are not consuming enough vitamin D, calciumDietary supplement used to promote bones, muscles, and heart to function properly. Bones in the body do not producer calcium, although it can be taken through foods and vitamins. Calcium in the bloodstream is used to send nerve signals, release hormones like insulin and regulate how muscles and blood vessels contract and dilate., potassium and other similar nutrients.
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A renewed focus on dietary patterns
A balanced diet remains one of the best ways to maintain a healthy immune systemimmune system : the bodily system that protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by producing the immune response and that includes especially the thymus, spleen, lymph nodes, special deposits of lymphoid tissue (as in the gastrointestinal tract and bone marrow), macrophages, lymphocytes including the B cells and T cells, and antibodies. and to help prevent chronic diseases. The number of Americans who are overweight, obese, or afflicted by Type 2 diabetestype 2 diabetes : a common form of diabetes mellitus that develops especially in adults and most often in obese individuals and that is characterized by hyperglycemia resulting from impaired insulin utilization coupled with the body's inability to compensate with increased insulin production — called also non-insulin-dependent diabetes, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, type 2 diabetes mellitus has grown to more than 80%. According to the committee, 6 in 10 Americans have a chronic disease, and 4 in 10 Americans have two or more chronic conditions in which poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, and excessive alcohol use can be contributing factors.
These new guidelines bring with them an updated method of looking at how to evaluate our collective health. Special nutrition considerations exist at each life stage, and improvements in recommended food patterns at each stage have the potential to influence healthy food choices at the next life stage. The report emphasized a focus on American dietary pattern rather than looking at more base nutritional intakes previously used in other reports. This approach incorporates metrics for modifying recommendations across different stages of life, focusing on variety of foods and nutrient density, shifting to healthier choices with a better nutrient-to-energy ratio, and supporting healthy eating patterns for all demographic subgroups.
Ensuring a nutrient-rich diet with a larger proportion of plant-based foods and a variety of proteins is more important than ever in the midst of the Covid-19 Pandemicpandemic (pan·dem·ic) : an outbreak of a disease that occurs over a wide geographic area and affects an exceptionally high proportion of the population : a pandemic outbreak of a disease.. For information on Anti-Inflammatory diet, please visit this post, “Top Anti-Inflammatory Foods that Support Healthy Immune Balance.”
USDA Dietary Recommendations 2020-2025 under review
The dietary guidelines outline an ideal healthy eating score of 100 if Americans consumed the set of foods in line with the Dietary Guidelines recommendations. The average healthy eating index (HEI) score for Americans is 59 out of 100.
Particularly now, Americans tendency to over-consume certain nutrients and under consume others has shown to pose a significant public health concern. Developing the dietary guidelines in the midst of the coronaviruscoronavirus co·ro·na·vi·rus : any of a family (Coronaviridae) of single-stranded RNA viruses that have a lipid envelope studded with club-shaped projections, infect birds and many mammals including humans, and include the causative agents of MERS, SARS, and COVID-19 epidemic has illuminated the connection between Covid-19 disease and diet-related chronic diseases, as those most at risk of serious illness, hospitalization and death have one or more health condition.
Here are some key dietary recommendations:
- Characteristics of dietary patterns associated with positive health outcomes include higher intake of vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, low- or nonfat dairy, lean meat and poultry, seafood, nuts, and unsaturated vegetable oils.
- Detrimental health outcomes are associated with dietary patterns that include higher consumption of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and drinks, and refined grains.
- The advisory committee is now urging Americans to reduce their added sugar intake even further than the current 10% recommendation to just 6%. This is less than half the national average daily sugar intake of 13%. Up to 79% of children ages 4 to 18 are exceeding the added sugar limit.
- The committee’s studies have shown that low intakes of Vitamin D, Calcium, dietary fiber, and potassium are of the most interest. Data revealed that underconsumption of these nutrients was a significant obstacle in the dietary patterns of Americans.
Increased seafood consumption, healthy proteins encouraged
In recent years, the USDA has updated its guidelines to encourage consumption of more seafood as a low-fat protein containing healthy fats. Seafood consumption has risen to the highest level since 2007; however, U.S. consumers have yet to reach the recommended level of seafood consumption laid out in the USDA 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
The guidelines recommend that Americans eat two four-ounce servings, or 8 ounces, of a variety of seafood per week. For those eating a 2,000 calorie-per-day diet, the aim of the 2015-2020 Guidelines are to take in at least 250 mg. per day of omega-3 fatty acids, EPA and DHA. Pregnant women or women who are breastfeeding are recommended to eat at least eight ounces of seafood per week to improve infant health outcomes.
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