New Food Guidelines Recommended By Panel

Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are key to helping Americans maintain a healthy weight in nutritional guidelines set forth by a government advisory panel.

Rear Admiral Penelope Slade-Sawyer of the Health and Human Services Department says the goal of the latest nutritional points are to help cut calories while providing necessary nutrients. Along with emphasizing specific foods, the new guidelines set standards for school breakfasts, lunches and other federal programs.

Slade-Sawyer said the U.S. is in the midst of an obesity epidemic she describes as "the single biggest threat to public health." Obesity rates among children have tripled in the past 30 years.

In addition to moving toward a plant-based diet, moderate amounts of lean meat, poultry and eggs are recommended.

Decreasing sodium intake from the current level of less than 2,300 milligrams a day to under 1,500 are advised as well as drinking fewer beverages containing sugar.

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