National Academy of Sciences Wants to Change American Diet

Sep 06, 2002

The National Academy of Sciences has issued new exercise and dietary guidelines to keep Americans fit. Two years in the making, the NAS study suggests that people double their exercise, cutback on foods with added sugar and increase fiber in the diet.

In line with the recent debate over consumption of fats and carbohydrates, the academy’s report says that healthy diets can include up to 35 percent fat (5 percent more than previously recommended). Carbohydrate intake should include at least 130 grams a day.

The report also warns against the dangers of saturated fats while emphasizing the value of polyunsaturated fats from food sources such as soybean, flaxseed, and corn oil.

The NAS report places greater emphasis on exercise recommending at least 60 minutes of moderate exercise a day. This figure is twice the amount previously set by the Surgeon General in 1996.

George Brooks, professor of Integrative Biology, U-Cal Berkeley, says, “There are health benefits from about half an hour of physical activity, but not enough to keep weight stable.”

Copies of NAS’ recommendations are available on the Web at

Moderator’s Comment: Is there anything that will get
Americans off the couch and junk foods? Should employers take a more active
role in getting their employees in shape?

The NAS guidelines may be new but they sound pretty much
like what we’ve been told for years. Exercise more and eat a lot less empty
calorie foods. Maybe it will work this time — then again, maybe it won’t. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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