Speak Up Now: Voice Your Interests for the New Dietary Guidelines

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Me giving oral testimony. Click for full video.

Earlier this week, 70+ people – representing interests such as meat, dairy, public health, sugar, vegetarian, spices and sustainability – gathered at the National Institutes of Health to weigh in on what the 2015 Dietary Guidelines should say to Americans about a healthy diet.

I had the opportunity to represent AICR and speak up for guidance that will help Americans more easily make choices to lower their cancer risk. Everyone had 3 minutes to speak directly to experts from USDA and Health and Human Services who will be writing the 2015 dietary guidelines for Americans. You can watch the video here. The Dietary Guidelines (revised every 5 years) are key to how we move forward with dietary advice, and that also affects how food is produced and manufactured in the U.S. Continue reading


Less Red and Processed Meat? New Guidelines May Help Reduce Cancer Risk

16939621_sThis year, for the first time, the US Dietary Guidelines committee may recommend that Americans eat less red and processed meat, a key recommendation from AICR for lowering cancer risk. Every five years, the US Dietary Guidelines are updated based on the committee recommendations and they are due out this year.

According to reports from the committee’s most recent discussions, the 2015 nutrition and eating guidelines may also call for Americans to eat more plant foods, like vegetables, fruit, beans and whole grains, also an AICR recommendation. Research shows that eating patterns like this – more plant foods and minimal red meat –  can help prevent obesity and chronic diseases like cancer, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

These 2015 guidelines may also call for lower sodium and specific limits on added sugars.

If enacted, these recommendations will better align with AICR’s Recommendations for Cancer Prevention and could, in the long-term, lead to fewer cancer cases. AICR estimates that about 1/3 of the most common cancer cases every year in the US wouldn’t happen if Americans followed a healthy diet, were physically active every day and maintained a healthy weight.

Guidelines like this will inform dietary advice for individuals, but will also set in motion changes for school lunches and other government food and nutrition programs. Read more about the guidelines at health.gov.


How many calories should my restaurant meal be? Here’s how many.

New regulations announced last week by the FDA mean you’ll now be able to see how many calories foods and drinks contain at your favorite chain restaurant. That’s potentially good news for cancer prevention because it can help help diners better manaOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAge their weight. But it also means you will need to know how many calories you’re aiming for in that restaurant meal.

Everyone’s calorie needs differ. And many people — six of seven according to one national survey — can’t estimate the number of calories needed to maintain their weight.

-To help consumers understand the posted calorie information, the FDA says menus and menu boards will include the statement: “2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice, but calorie needs vary.” Here, you can use the USDA site to give you calorie estimates based on your height, activity level and other characteristics. It will differ depending upon if you want to lose weight or stay the same. Continue reading