June 1, 2000
Summit Proves Newsworthy for Soy, Diets and Wayward Pie
WASHINGTON--It's official--soy has found a home on the food pyramid. This newdevelopment comes after the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the department ofHealth and Human Services (HHS) released the 5th edition of Nutrition and Your Health:Dietary Guidelines for Americans May 30 at the National Nutrition Summit, the firstone held since 1969.
"It's good to see [the government] recognize soy as an alternative to animalprotein," said Phil Harvey, director of science and quality assurance with theNational Nutritional Foods Association (NNFA). "People should experiment with it ifthey haven't tried it." The 2000 Guidelines now recognize that calcium-rich soydrinks are a good alternative to dairy beverages and a half-cup of tofu or a soyburger aregood meat substitutes. Tofu is also listed as a good source of calcium if combined withcalcium sulfate.
"Soy has unique benefits as a heart-healthy alternative," said JohnCardellina, vice president of botanical sciences at the Council for Responsible Nutrition(CRN). "That isn't something you see as a benefit of meat." The guidelines alsorecommend dietary intakes of avocados and frozen vegetables and recommend moderate intakesof alcohol and sugar.
Also at the Summit, USDA announced it will begin testing high-protein andhigh-carbohydrate diets. USDA researchers plan to put two groups of people on prototypediets based on Dr. Robert Atkins' high-protein and Dr. Dean Ornish'shigh-carbohydrate/low-fat diets. The goal is to measure how much weight is lost and howhealth is affected. A panel of scientists will develop a protocol for the studies, set tobegin later this year, at the USDA's nutrition research center at the University ofCalifornia-Davis. "If obesity is the number one [health] issue, then we need to putour money there and figure out what works," said Cyndi Thompson, a spokeswoman forthe American Dietetic Association and a nutrition expert at the University of Arizona.According to the latest dietary guidelines, the best weight control is by exercisingregularly and eating a balanced diet of grains, fruits and vegetables.
As an aside, Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman was accosted with a pie whilepresenting at the Summit. The pie narrowly missed his face as an irate animal rightsactivist threw the tofu dessert at him.
A member of the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Arathi Jayaram fromMansfield, Ohio, was angered that the recently announced dietary guidelines promoted meatas a dietary staple.
For further information about issues presented at the Summit, visit www.usda.gov.
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