A review of the current US dietary guidelines to help improve the nation’s health through proper nutrition is now underway with the appointment of a new panel, which includes experts in probiotics, prebiotics and satiety.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) said 13 dietary experts in medical and scientific research will serve on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and were picked for their expertise in dietary intake, human metabolism, behavioral change, and health.
The guidelines help form the basis of nutrition labeling, which is currently a hot topic in the food industry as the marketplace is said to be “cluttered by multiple systems”, creating confusion.
It comes as a new front-of-pack nutrition labeling system was launched yesterday by a coalition of food manufacturers, including ConAgra Foods, Unilever and General Mills.
The criteria for this new Smart Choices Program were derived from the 2005 dietary guidelines, among other sources, to help consumers make smarter nutrition choices to improve public health.
The new dietary committee will prepare an advisory report for Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer and Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, which will be used in setting the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Leavitt said: “While the dietary guidelines are designed for a healthy population, they become increasingly important as we aim to reduce the burden of disease and death related to public health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses.”
The guidelines, which Schafer describes as “the nation’s cornerstone of Federal food policy”, are reviewed every five years.
Among the panel is Dr Roger Clemens, a spokesperson for the American Society for Nutrition and the Institute of Food Technologists, who has experience in functional foods and technology, with an emphasis on probiotics and prebiotics.
His expertise also covers toxicology and food safety and he is based at The University of Southern California, Los Angeles.
Joining him is Dr Joanne Slavin, an expert in carbohydrates and dietary fiber, based in the department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota.
Her research expertise focuses on the impact of whole grain consumption in chronic diseases, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes, and the role of dietary fiber in satiety.