Government: Eat Less
The federal government's newest dietary guidelines have finally stated that which has long been between the lines: Americans eat too damn much food.
While the recommendations may seem obvious, it is nonetheless considered major progress for federal regulators, who have long skirted the issue, wary of the powerful food lobby. (The 112-page report even subtly suggests that people eat less pizza and dessert.)
Previous guidelines urged Americans to curb sugar, solid fats and salt, but avoided naming specific foods, let alone urging consumers to eat less food over all.
“For them to have said ‘eat less’ is really new. Who would have thought?” said Margo G. Wootan, director of nutrition policy at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “We should have been saying ‘eat less’ for a decade.”
Ms. Wootan said she was nonetheless pleased that the guidelines provided “understandable and actionable” advice rather than the “big vague messages” of the past.
For instance, she applauded the advice to make half of your plate fruits and vegetables. “Before, the dietary guidelines said, ‘Eat more fruits and vegetables,’ but that could mean add a slice of tomato to your hamburger,” she said.
Robert C. Post, deputy director of the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion at the Agriculture Department, said regulators hoped simple messages would resonate better than the more technical prose of the past. “Maybe that is what will help this time to get the consumer’s attention,” he said.
Good luck with that.
Most of us already know that we’re eating too much of the wrong kinds of food, drinking too much beer and whisky, and getting too little exercise. The problem isn’t lack of knowledge but lack of will. Pizza, French fries, pale ales, and single malts are delicious. Watching television, surfing the Web, and playing video games is relaxing. Running, lifting weights, and swimming laps is hard.