USDA releases ‘blunt’ new dietary guidelines, tells Americans to just eat less

The government has released new eating guidelines, as it does twice a decade, and it seems under the crushing weight of the obesity epidemic, the advice can be boiled down to a simple, two word set of instructions: “eat less.”

While there are some specific guidelines about what to eat in your smaller portions, the New York Times points out that the USDA has always been a bit reticent to dissuade Americans from shoving food in their collective faces due to the heavy sway held by the food lobby. A NYU nutrition expert lauds the move:

“They are blunter here than they’ve ever been before, and they deserve credit for that,” said Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition at New York University and a critic of government nutrition guidance. “They said, ‘Eat less!’ I think that’s great, and to avoid oversized portions. That’s the two best things you should do.”

The changes are many, and some are obvious, such as reducing sodium content and cutting down on trans fats. The guidelines also make the suggestion that 50% of meals be comprised of fruit and/or vegetables. Another nutritionist commented:

“Before, the dietary guidelines said eat more fruits and vegetables but that could mean add a slice of tomato to your hamburger,” she said.

Also recommended is upping your intake of whole grains in lieu of processed ones, and consuming more seafood. Nestle makes some good points in the NYT piece, but she does come off as a bit of a killjoy. After advising readers to “eat less junk food” (breakthrough!) she goes on to say:

“Cut back on cheese, hamburgers, pizza, cookies and pastries.”

Are the new USDA guidelines a step in the right direction, or are they still not enough in the land of eighty-eight cent Cheesy Beef Melts and buck McDoubles?