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Oldways calls on industry to support Dietary Guidelines

By Caroline Scott-Thomas, 18-Jun-2010

Related topics: Health and nutritional ingredients, Suppliers, The obesity problem

Oldways, the non-profit organization behind the Whole Grains seal, has called on industry to help make the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans work for better public health.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee released its preliminary report earlier this week, in which it issued a clear call for industry to work together with public health authorities to create healthier products for consumers.

“The food industry will need to act to help Americans achieve these goals,” the report said. “Every aspect of the industry, from research and development to production and retail, needs to contribute healthful food solutions to reduce the intake of SoFAS [solid fats and added sugar], certain refined grain products, and sodium. Sound health and wellness policies at the local, state, and national level also can help facilitate these changes.”

‘Total diet’

Oldways, which has been a strong advocate of the Mediterranean diet as a healthy way of eating since the early 90s, has applauded the guidelines committee for producing a chapter addressing ‘total diet’, which cites the Mediterranean diet as a particularly healthy way of eating.

“Oldways has a long history, through programs like its Whole Grains Council and Mediterranean Foods Alliance, of organizing creative initiatives that motivate industry to introduce healthier products, and plans to build on this successful model in support of the new guidelines,” the organization said.

The Mediterranean diet is rich in cereals, fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and olive oil. Although it is the traditional diet of the Mediterranean region, it has garnered interest all over the world in recent times as a scientific spotlight has been trained on the health benefits it can confer.

For instance, recent research has indicated that the diet may have benefits for arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, heart health and blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, lung disease, and allergies.

‘Simple foods’

President of Oldways Sara Baer-Sinnott said: “We are inviting partners to come to the table to help us encourage Americans, once and for all, to shift their approach to food from large portions and mindless eating to one that celebrates delicious, healthy, simple foods.”

Oldways has said it is calling on the food industry, as well as individuals and other organizations, to support the draft Dietary Guidelines for Americans by signing a ‘three-point pledge’, which covers enjoyment of healthy foods, industry involvement in producing healthier products, and the importance of total diet.

The Dietary Guidelines are revised every five years in order to reflect changes in nutrition knowledge over time, including a review of contemporary US intakes of various foods and nutrients, examining those areas in which consumption may be inadequate, or where it may be excessive. A comment period is now open, with the final 2010 guidelines expected to be published later this year.

The Committee report and information on how to submit comments can be accessed here .