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For Immediate
May 26, 2000

For more information:

  “Dietary Guidelines: Two Steps Forward, One Step Back”

Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, had the following statement concerning the release of the new edition of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”
     Overall, the new edition represents a nice improvement over the current guidelines. Importantly, it places greater emphasis on a plant-based, more-vegetarian diet.

     Unfortunately, though, the government caved in to pressure from junk-food makers and downplayed its scientific advisory committee’s advice to recommend that people “limit” their sugar intake. The government had the headline advise people “to moderate” their intake of added sugars and put the word “limit” lower in the text. Currently, the average American consumes 20 teaspoons of sugar per day — twice what the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends.

     The challenge now is for the government to invest in programs that will translate the sensible guidelines into actual improvements in diet.

     We applaud USDA for announcing its intention to require nutrition labels on fresh meat and poultry. Ground beef, in particular, is loaded with saturated fat. Nutrition labels will help consumers lower their saturated-fat intake and reduce their risk of heart disease.