Americans should eat less fat and cholesterol and more vegetables, fruits and grains, according to new federal dietary guidelines issued Monday.
The guidelines differ little from the last set, issued in 1985, although the new ones offer more information, including recommended limits on fat in a healthy diet.The guidelines issued by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, which apply to people 2 years and older, make seven different points:
-Eat a variety of foods.
-Maintain healthy weight.
-Choose a diet low in fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
-Choose a diet with plenty of vegetables, fruits and grain products.
-Use sugars only in moderation.
-Use salt and sodium only in moderation.
-If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.
The guidelines recommend that total fat provide 30 percent or less of calories daily, and that saturated fat, which is mainly from animal products and tropical oils, be limited to less than 10 percent of total calories.
The guidelines define moderation in drinking alcoholic beverages: for women, one drink per day, and for men, no more than two drinks a day. One drink means 12 ounces of regular beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits, 80 proof, according to the federal document.
John R. Cady, president of the National Food Processors Association, said the new guidelines recognize that there are no bad foods, but rather bad diets.
But the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a non-profit consumer advocacy group, contended that the new guidelines are weaker than the 1985 ones. Also, they do not heed the advice of the National Academy of Sciences and the surgeon general, the center said.
"This document is clearly designed not to offend the meat, egg and dairy industries," said Jayne Hurley, a nutritionist at the center.
"It represents the least common denominator of nutrition advice," she said. "This is a Band-Aid and the American diet needs surgery."
She criticized the guidelines for advising people to use salt and sugar "in moderation."