Only in America …dietary guidelines – Shelby Sun

Only in America do we order a big double cheese burger, large fries and a diet coke from the drive-through and the government tells us this is wrong.

Early this month when the new dietary guidelines were unveiled by the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, it was another jab at our culture of fast food and sedentary lifestyle. The government wants us to “eat fewer calories, be more active and make wiser food choices.”

A double cheese burger has over 700 calories with nearly half the calories from fat. For an average America on a 2000 calorie recommended diet,  a burger alone would reach one-third this limit. In addition, the guidelines suggest 2 or less servings of meat, poultry and fish.

The fries, though vegetable, are not the healthiest choice. Again, half the calories comes from fat and they are high in trans-fat, the “really really bad” kind of fat (saturated fat is really bad, polyunsaturated in bad, unsaturated is OK). Also, the dietary guidelines have increased the minimum serving of fruits and vegetables we should consume from 2-3 to 4-5, and ketchup would not cut it.

We order our meals without having to extricate ourselves from the car, as if simple walk to the restaurant may over exert our bodies. Uniquely, the food guidelines for the first time talked about physical activity. I thought food guidelines were suppose to talk about the input (what goes in the mouth) not output (exercise). Quite well, the government realized the mismatch of the two and now said the input must equal output. So the recommendation is at least 30 minutes of exercise of moderate-intensity most days of the week to stay fit and 60 to 90 minutes of exercise to sustain or reduce weight. So next time, we will park our car, jog to the counter at the local fast food outlet, and order a healthy salad.

Oh yes, the diet coke. That tells everyone that we are all well intentioned people toward diet, exercise and weight management. If only intentions were enough,  we would be a healthy nation.

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