USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 – A review from Ayurvedic view point

U.S Department of Agriculture & U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have released “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010”.  US Government releases dietary guidelines once in every 5 years, to help Americans to make better food choices. The report is claimed to be based on the scientific research. Here  is a review of the report. 
The US Government’s effort to educate Americans about health and diet is appreciable.

The report concentrates more on curbing obesity as majority of Americans have  obesity.

The total report concentrates on four major dietary advices, which are quite in line with Ayurvedic recommendations –

  • Eat less
  • Chose healthy and nutritious food items carefully
  • Be physically active
  • Go vegetarian

Dietary advices –

  • It encourages people to take more of vegetables and fruits, which is refreshing.
  • It encourages to consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
  • Milk and dairy products: I have read in health books of US authors, I have heard so many times from many US people, that milk and dairy products are of no use after childhood. But it is very refreshing to see that throughout the report milk and dairy products consumption is encouraged.
  • Much against to the belief that milk products will cause weight gain, the report says – Strong evidence in adults and moderate evidence in children and adolescents demonstrates that con­sumption of milk and milk products does not play a special role in weight management.”
  • Fortified foods, cereals find encouragement, which is slightly questionable.
  • Folic acid fortified food or supplements is encouraged for woman ahead of pregnancy.
  • Restriction on sodium intake  and increase in potassium intake is recommended, which makes sense to avoid risk of hypertension and other related complications.
  • Apart from food, a few supplements are recommended for particular population.

Eg: Crystalline Vitamin B 12 for people above 50

Iron supplement for pregnant.

A special section concentrates on a health principle and techniques to adopt the principle.

Principle: Replace solid fat with oils, wherever possible.

How to adopt: When using spreads, choose soft margarines with zero trans fats made from liquid vegetable oil, rather than stick margarine or butter. If you do use butter, use only a small amount. When cooking, use vegetable oils such as olive, canola, corn, safflower, or sunflower oil rather than solid fats (butter, coconut oil, stick margarine, shortening, lard).

Apart from dietary advises, the report stresses upon the importance of cleanliness of hands, utensils and food items.

It encourages people to read the nutritional facts printed in the labels of the food products and make sensible choices.

While majority of food industries have approached positively towards the report, a small group have shown dissent, as non veg is no encouraged.

Overall, Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 is a very good read for any interested persons.  The diet rules report is full of statistics and numbers, which a few people may not like.

The report is 95 pages. and can be downloaded here

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  1. ‘Coconut oil’- some say it is good- some say it is bad. In Kerala, most people use it since it is very much available. Is there anything in Ayurveda about oil?

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