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U.S. Dietary Guidelines Will No Longer Focus on Fat

Nutrition experts endorse decision to drop restrictions, focus on quality of food instead

MONDAY, June 29, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Nutrition experts are supporting a federal decision to drop recommended restrictions on total fat consumption in the forthcoming 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Over the past decade, research has shown that a diet rich in healthy fats can be better for people, particularly if those fats help offset consumption of foods containing high levels of salt, sugar, and refined grains, Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H., told HealthDay. Mozaffarian is the dean of Tufts University's Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Boston and coauthor of a viewpoint article on the federal decision. The article appears in the June 23/30 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. This latest research has prompted independent scientists on the federally funded 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Committee to quietly abandon current recommended restrictions on dietary fat.

For the first time since 1980, the committee did not propose restricting total fat consumption in its technical report, which was released earlier this year. Low-fat diets have had unintended consequences, turning people away from healthy high-fat foods and toward foods rich in added sugars, starches, and refined grains. This has helped fuel the twin epidemics of obesity and diabetes in America, Mozaffarian said.

Current dietary guidelines recommend that only up to 35 percent of daily calories should come from fat. The committee's recommendation drops the entire concept, Mozaffarian noted. "What's really noticeable is not they came out with a dramatic statement that we should drop the limit on total fat, but that they really quietly ignored the whole thing," he said. "There's no chapter on fat. There's no statement on fats." Based on the committee's recommendation, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are expected to issue an updated set of dietary guidelines later this year that omits any limits on total fat consumption, Mozaffarian said.

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