The new dietary dos and don'ts

Every five years the federal government issues new dietary guidelines that are supposed to put the country on the road to healthier eating. Apparently Americans have been taking some wrong turns because two thirds of us are now overweight and nearly a third are obese (a body mass index of 30 or greater).

Weight control and exercise have been mentioned in the guidelines before, but the new set released in January 2005 puts them front and center where they belong. They give better advice about grains and cereals: At least three of the six daily servings are supposed to be whole grains. They also make a stronger statement about difference between the "good" and "bad" fats.

The dietary guidelines have trickledown effects on school lunch and other government programs, even if many Americans aren't aware of the particulars. The new guidelines are especially important because they will be used to update the familiar Food Guide Pyramid.

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