WASHINGTON – Key recommendations included in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include three components, a focus on balancing calories to manage weight, a focus on food and food components consumers should reduce their consumption of, and a focus on foods and nutrients consumers should increase consumption of. Because more than one-third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese, the 7th edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans places stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said.

"The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore," said Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. "These new and improved dietary recommendations give individuals the information to make thoughtful choices of healthier foods in the right portions and to complement those choices with physical activity. The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease. Improving our eating habits is not only good for every individual and family, but also for our country."

The guidelines encourage consumers to choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which the guidelines say are "nutrients of concern in American diets." The foods identified in the recommendation include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products.

The recommendations also focus broadly on weight management and include recommendations for consumers to improve eating and physical activity behaviors; control calorie intake; increase physical activity; and maintain appropriate calorie balancing during each stage of life.

More important to the food and beverage industry are the recommendations regarding food and nutrients to avoid and increase consumption. The 2010 guidelines generally maintain the less than 2,300 mg sodium intake level from earlier guidance, but note that people over the age of 51and those any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease should reduce sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg.

The guidelines also recommend consumers:

• Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

• Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.

• Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic forms of trans fatty acids.

• Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.

• Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grains that contain solid fats, added sugars and sodium.

• The recommendations also emphasize alcohol consumption should be done in moderation.

The guidelines recommend increasing fruit and vegetable consumption and an increase in the intake of a variety of dark-green, red and orange vegetables, a focus on whole grains and the intake of a variety of proteins.

The whole grains recommendation said consumers should eat at least half of all grains as whole grains, and increase whole grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.

The guidelines also recommend consumers increase their intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.

Other increased intake recommendations in the guidelines include:

• Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

• Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.

• Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.

• Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.

In total, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans feature 23 key recommendations for the general population and six recommendations for specific population groups. Check back to FoodBusinessNews.net throughout the day as we cover reaction of the food and beverage industry to the new guidelines.