IFIC Foundation Applauds "Total-Diet" Approach of 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

WASHINGTON, Jan. 7, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation today applauded the food-based, total-diet approach of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs)—released today by the federal government—to help Americans meet recommended dietary goals.

"When too much emphasis is placed on one food, nutrient, or ingredient, the importance of eating an overall balanced diet with the appropriate number of calories—along with proper levels of physical activity—often gets overlooked," said IFIC Foundation senior advisor for science and consumer insights Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RD, LD, FADA, FAND.

Kris Sollid, RD, IFIC Foundation's director of nutrition communications, pointed to several highlights in the 2015 DGAs:

Sugars: "The 2015-2020 DGA recommendation is to limit intake of added sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories per day. Currently, we get 13-17 percent of our calories from added sugars.While the evidence behind the 10 percent recommendation is hotly debated, there is no debating that some people would benefit from reducing their total calories (sugars calories included) in the effort to achieve and/or maintain a healthy weight. All calories contribute to body weight, not just those from sugars.

Low-Calorie Sweeteners: "The 2015-2020 DGA agrees with leading global authorities (e.g., EFSA and FDA) that low-calorie sweeteners (e.g., acesulfame potassium (Ace-K), aspartame, saccharin and sucralose) are safe to consume. By stating, 'It should be noted that replacing added sugars with high-intensity sweeteners may reduce calorie intake in the short-term, yet questions remain about their effectiveness as a long-term weight management strategy,' the 2015-2020 DGA advice on low-calorie sweeteners doesn't differ much from that given in 2010.

Dietary Fat: "The 2015-2020 DGA recommendation is to limit saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of total calories. This advice mirrors that given in 2010. The 2015-2020 DGA rationale for continuing this advice on saturated fats has to do with reducing risk for cardiovascular disease. Both the 2015 DGAC and the 2015-2020 DGA agree on the importance fat in our diet, encouraging us to be more aware of the types of fats we eat (i.e. replacing saturated with mono- and polyunsaturated) and less about the total amount of fat we eat."

Cholesterol: "Dietary cholesterol does not play a major role in blood cholesterol. In other words, the kind of cholesterol in the foods we eat isn't the driving factor for the kind of cholesterol doctors care about. Nutrition scientists have been hinting at this for quite some time, but the change in official dietary guidance will likely be news to the public. Many factors affect blood cholesterol more than dietary cholesterol, such as physical activity, body weight, intake of saturated and trans fat, heredity, age, and sex. The 2015-2020 DGA make no recommendation to limit cholesterol, stating that 'Adequate evidence is not available for a quantitative limit for dietary cholesterol specific to the Dietary Guidelines.'

Protein foods: "The advice on meat and poultry consumption in the 2015-2020 DGA remains the same as it was in 2010. The 2015-2020 DGA states, 'The recommendation for the meats, poultry, and eggs subgroup in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern at the 2,000-calorie level is 26 ounce-equivalents per week. This is the same as the amount that was in the primary USDA Food Patterns of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.' The DGA further states that 'Choices within these eating patterns may include processed meats and processed poultry as long as the resulting eating pattern is within limits for sodium, calories from saturated fats and added sugars, and total calories.'"

Sodium: "Modifying its previous stance from 2010 on sodium, the official recommendation from the 2015-2020 DGA is to limit sodium intake to less than 2300 mg per day. The 2015-2020 DGA states, 'Healthy eating patterns limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day for adults and children ages 14 years and older and to the age- and sex-appropriate Tolerable Upper Intake Levels (UL) of sodium for children younger than 14 years. The new DGA also state that for individuals with prehypertension and hypertension 'further reduction to 1,500 mg per day can [added] result in even greater blood pressure reduction.'"

Caffeine: "The inclusion of coffee and caffeine as topics in the 2015 DGAs is unprecedented. Given the buzz about caffeine these days, it makes sense. About 80 percent of the caffeine in our diets comes from coffee, and research continues to illustrate the benefits of coffee—apparently, it's more than just a great way to start your day. Because most of the existing evidence on caffeine intake is derived from coffee consumption, the 2015-2020 DGA states that 'Moderate coffee consumption (three to five 8-oz cups/day or providing up to 400 mg/day of caffeine) can be incorporated into healthy eating patterns.' The important caveat here is that people who do not currently consume caffeine (in various forms) are not encouraged to begin."

"Every five years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans shine the spotlight on the state of nutrition science," said Smith Edge. "What we know about 'eating right' continues to evolve. Americans are hungry for a positive, actionable approach and message when it comes to diet: more than three in four (78 percent) would rather hear what they should eat than what they should not eat. Fortunately, we've recognized that there is more than one way to achieve a healthful diet –a positive outcome for motivating consumers to adopt a healthier lifestyle."

For more information about the 2015 DGAs, check out IFIC Foundation's 2015 DGA Resource Page.

Two federal agencies (United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services) update the DGAs every five years with input from Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, along with comments from the public and federal agencies.

To request an interview with an expert, please contact Laura Kubitz (kubitz@ific.org) or Matt Raymond (raymond@ific.org) or by calling at 202-296-6540.

The International Food Information Council Foundation is dedicated to the mission of effectively communicating science-based information on health, food safety and nutrition for the public good. The IFIC Foundation is supported primarily by the broad-based food, beverage and agricultural industries. Visit http://www.foodinsight.org.

CONTACT: Matt Raymond (raymond@ific.org) Laura Kubitz (kubitz@ific.org)Source:International Food Information Council and Foundation