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Fish Climbs the (Food Guide) Pyramid

USDA panel doubles fish intake guidelines
by Randy Hartnell

Late last month, an expert nutrition panel advising the U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) on design of a new Food Guide Pyramid recommended that the new guidelines call for Americans to eat two 6-8 ounce servings of fish species high in omega-3 fatty acids, every week.

The current USDA Food Guide Pyramid calls for Americans to eat two to three servings of non-dairy protein food (meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, or nuts) per day. Thus, the panel's new recommendation favors omega-3-rich fish over other non-dairy protein foods.

This time, the USDA's expert advisors were asked to shift the focus of the Food Pyramid guidelines, from maintaining a healthy diet to losing weight. These were the panel's key recommendations:
  • Eat two servings (6-8 ounces each) per week of fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Exercise more
  • Serve smaller portions at home and in restaurants.
  • Concentrate on counting calories, and stop worrying about where the calories come from (i.e., from carbohydrates, fats, or proteins)
  • Eat more fiber, less sugar (e.g., soda, candy) and fewer refined carbohydrates (white breads pasta, pastries).
We applaud the panel's recommendation, which should be easy for Vital Choice customers to implement. (Ounce for ounce, salmon contains more omega-3s than most other fish.) The secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services must accept the recommendations, and these agencies are subject to pressure from food industry sectors that prefer the staus quo. We hope that in this case, sound nutrition science will prevail over politics.

Note: While some farmed salmon contains as many omega-3s as wild salmon, they also contain far more omega-6s, saturated fat, and associated calories, none of which support weight control or overall health!

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