Changes in store for 2010 Dietary Guidelines

During a session exploring possible changes to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans held at the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meeting this week, Eric J. Hentges, Ph.D., director of the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and executive director of Washington-based International Life Sciences Institution North America, told attendees that sodium and SOFAS may face more negative critiques.

SOFAS stands for solid fats, alcohol and added sugars, and the 2010 Guidelines may tell Americans to consume less of all these items, he said. The Guidelines also may drop their level of maximum daily sodium intake to 1,500mg from 2,300mg. Whole grains and the amount of fiber they contain may also be investigated. New areas to be explored may include prebiotic fibers and probiotics, and the Guidelines may focus more on individual fatty acids, such as the need to decrease consumption of trans fats and saturated fats.

The 2005 committee was unable to find time to study dietary supplements and beverages at length, but the 2010 committee may do so, according to Connie M. Weaver, Ph.D., a professor at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., who was on the 2005 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Robert C. Post, Ph.D., deputy director of the USDA’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, Alexandria, Va., who heads the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, added the committee will examine ways to eat healthy at a low cost; changes in consumer behavior, both societal and environmental; and instructional systems to promote the new Guidelines. An Internet-based nutrition library set up by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion will be used. It has the capability to categorize public comments, allowing subcommittees to receive and segregate comments in their specific research areas.