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Previously this program was named Carolyn Katzin's The DNA Diet.
Federal Guidelines updated in 2010
Recognition of the challenge of childhood obesity is most notable in this updated version of federal guidelines. We are urged to eat more foods from plants than animal sources and to restrict sugar and sodium.
In my opinion the guidelines which are updated every five years are good as far as they go however we each are still going to make our own decisions on what to select for ourselves and our families based on taste, price and availability. We will need to involve farm subsidies and support of healthy agricultural practices to turn around the epidemic of childhood obesity.
It is going to take a huge sustained, well coordinated and well funded effort to alter the way food is prepared and provided to us when convenience, speed and price are right up there with taste in how we select our food.
Today time is one of our most precious commodities.
It takes time to eat healthily - time most of us believe we don't have.
It may take a little more time to shop for fresh (and consequently more perishable) produce and this also means a shifting of priorities.
It may take more time for farmers to provide us with healthy crops, to package and market them.
It takes more space to store, transport and display fresh produce.
We need to come up with new technologies to provide most of the benefits and fewer of the down sides of processed foods. Benefits of packaged, light, shelf stable foods include the reduced time it takes to move them around and the smaller amount of space needed to store them.
In addition, if we are to reduce the sodium and preservatives in our food we need ways to preserve them such as vacuum, shelf stable packaging. This may be expensive so we may need to pay more for food. Unfortunately we have become used to spending less of our disposable income on food in the United States than any other country. Perhaps this is one reason why our diet is linked to obesity?
Bacteria thrive in foods that have a high level of water activity which is why shelf stable food contains sodium and other minerals that inhibit the growth of potentially harmful microorganisms. As we learn more about which intestinal flora or microorganisms are healthy and which may be harmful ideally we will be able to use this to our advantage just as we do in fermented foods like sauerkraut, vinegar, yogurt, tempeh and tofu.
So let's stay focused on providing healthy, tasty, cheap food that is nutrient rich and enjoyable and yet is realistically feasible to produce on a large scale and at an affordable price.
If you have room to grow your own vegetables or even a windowsill for fresh herbs you will learn first hand the difference in taste between truly fresh food than that which has been preserved. Unless we want to spend all of our time on the land however, we are going to have to sacrifice some of the taste or quality in order to preserve and package food to be safely sent over distances.
Food science is a fascinating topic - I enjoyed my college study of this topic and learned new respect for the importance of food safety, food production and supporting sustainable agricultural practices.
Eat well and be well!