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2010 Dietary Guidelines Recommend Americans Drink More Water



On January 31, 2011, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) published the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Federal law requires the secretaries of HHS and USDA to review, update (if necessary), and publish the Dietary Guidelines at least every five years.

There are several references in the new Dietary Guidelines regarding the consumption of water, including the following:

* “Sweetened foods and beverages can be replaced with those that have no or are low in added sugars. For example, sweetened beverages can be replaced with water and unsweetened beverages.” (page 28)

* “Water and unsweetened beverages, such as coffee and tea, contribute to total water intake without adding calories. To limit excess calories and maintain healthy weight, individuals are encouraged to drink water and other beverages with few or no calories, in addition to recommended amounts of low-fat or fat-free milk and 100% fruit juices.”
(pages 48)

* “An overall healthy eating pattern also needs to account for all foods and beverages consumed, whether at home or away from home. Beverages are currently a major source of calories, and many do not provide essential nutrients. Therefore, water or other calorie-free beverages, along with fat-free or low-fat milk and 100% fruit juice, are recommended to meet total water needs.” (page 54)

* “Cut back on foods and drinks with added sugars or caloric sweeteners (sugar- sweetened beverages). Drink few or no regular sodas, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks… Choose water, fat-free milk, 100% fruit juice, or unsweetened tea or coffee as drinks rather than sugar-sweetened drinks.” (page 67)

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are based on the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and consideration of federal agency and public comments. The Advisory Committee took 20 months to develop its report, during which the Committee held six public meetings. In making its recommendations, the Committee conducted a thorough review of the scientific literature.

The overarching theme of the new Dietary Guidelines is the need to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and the prevalence of obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity. The new Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

The Dietary Guidelines will have important implications for federal policymakers, nutrition professionals, and the food industry during the next five years, as federal dietary guidance for the public is required to be consistent with the Dietary Guidelines.

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