What Should Americans Eat?

Some of the country’s top experts have been assembled to help figure this out.  During the next two days, a panel of scientists, nutritionists, epidemiologists and physicians will be meeting in Washington, DC to review the best scientific evidence to help craft the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.  This is the third meeting of the 13-member committee and I’ll be reporting back on some of the discussions during this public hearing.

photo credit: bigstockphoto.com

photo credit: bigstockphoto.com

In the meantime, here’s what Adam Drewnowksi, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington, told the Washington Post.  He’s one of the experts that will be addressing the panel this week.

  • “My hope is that they will at least take the economics of nutrition into account, really think through about real foods for real people.  Dietary choices are economic decisions, like everything else…. I’d like to see a focus on affordable, nutrient-rich foods by category.  They do exist; not everything nutritious is expensive.  For instance, with vegetables the focus has been on fresh salad greens.  But there are cheaper vegetables that provide a whole range of nutrients:  cabbage, carrots, potatoes….We need to advise people what those foods are, where you can get them and how to cook them.  It’s a diet for a new Depression.  Foods we’ve always know are good and nutritious — and inexpensive. ” 
  • “Unless we aid the public in identifying foods that are nutrient-rich and affordable — and are enjoyable in the mainstream of the American diet — none of this will work….When we want to change the population’s diet for the better, everybody says stop eating oils, sugar, and go with leafy greens.  That’s dramatic.  Instead, nudge your diet toward foods that are more rich in nutrients of interest.”  
  • “You have to know something about nutrition — and you have to know how to cook.  It takes a bit of time, but not an inordinate amount.  In addition to time, though, it takes some education, cooking skills, culinary culture and infrastructure: pots, pans, a stove.  For a lot of people, those things are slipping out of reach…. Eating well is a matter of knowledge, money and timeSome people are zero for three.”

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