American Heart Association officials praise new federal dietary guidelines
Officials from the American Heart Association (AHA) lauded the guidelines' "flexibility," noting that they offer a plethora of choices so Americans can eat healthy while still having variety in their diets.
"By providing a valuable source of nutrition information, the standards continue to help build a ‘culture of health’ that will reduce our risk for heart disease and stroke," AHA President Dr. Mark Creager said. "We commend HHS and USDA for their transparent approach in developing these guidelines and for incorporating the science-based nutrition recommendations made by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. These new guidelines will help us examine our diets in a more comprehensive fashion, instead of spending time weighing the pros and cons of every single food we eat."
Creager encouraged Americans to use the standards as they develop menus for their families and meet their individual health care needs. The standards continue to suggest the inclusion of more fruits, vegetables and whole grains in daily diets, as well as less sugar, salt and fat, he noted.
"However, they do propose a new goal for added sugars," Creager said. "For the first time, the guidelines include a definitive amount for the consumption of added sugars, a major source of the excess calories that can lead to higher body weight. By recommending less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars, the guidelines give Americans clear direction on how much sugar they can consume and still keep their weight and health in check."
Creager said AHA officials were particularly pleased about the recommendations to lower daily sodium intake.
"This new target will help steer more Americans away from salty foods and the risk of developing high blood pressure linked to excess salt intake," he said. "Additionally, eating less saturated fat will improve overall cardiovascular health and reduce the risk of heart disease and death."
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