Every five years a committee of top nutritionists gets together and suggests how Americans should be eating. The newest guidelines are out and open for public viewing and comment. The panel this year has shown some startling changes, reflecting newfound science on diet and nutrition. The panel said that Americans should be eating more plant-based foods and ease off on the meat, especially red meat and particularly, the processed kind. Processed meant often includes additives, preservatives and fillers. Committee members were quick to say you don’t have to eliminate meat completely, just cut down. A plant-based diet was found not only to improve health but to be better for the environment. Panelists suggest a varied diet with lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and proteins. The last category should include the plant-based variety such as beans, lentils, nuts and legumes. This type of eating mirrors the much extolled Mediterranean diet.
They also said one egg a day was okay. New cholesterol research finds that for those without heart disease can eat one egg per day or up to seven per week. It won’t increase HDL or “bad” cholesterol enough to affect the heart. The American Heart Association (AHA) makes a similar recommendation. One to two cups of coffee per day was also found to have health benefits. But don’t add so much sugar, as the committee suggested sugar intake be limited due to its role in diabetes and heart disease. Though we on average consume 22 teaspoons per day, the committee recommends sugar make up only 10% of daily calories consumed. The World Health Organization (WHO) already has similar guidelines. Water should be the beverage of choice. One sugary drink per day is allowed. Most shocking to many was the reversal on cholesterol making eggs, shellfish and other foods okay. Americans for a long time were told to watch their cholesterol. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) along with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will allow public comment on the guidelines. Then they’ll evaluate them once again, and submit a final copy.