If we had to sum up 2005 in one short sentence, it would be to say short cuts are out and a low-fat, high-fiber diet is in. 2005 saw the Atkin’s diet fall out of popularity, along with studies that show supplements do not offer real benefits. The 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were introduced as was a whole new MyPyramid. Here are the highlights:
Supplements not beneficial
- A large meta-analysis of 19 of the best-controlled studies on vitamin E supplements in people 47 to 84 years of age found no evidence that vitamin E supplements were beneficial. Indeed, the results found that there was a small increased risk of dying from all causes combined in those who took vitamin E supplements.
- A study on older subjects found that taking vitamin E daily for 3 years did not delay the development of Alzheimer’s disease or the loss of mental function over time compared to a placebo.
- A double-blind, controlled clinical trial in Australia examined the effect of chromium picolinate supplements on insulin sensitivity, blood lipids and body weight in 40 subjects with confirmed glucose intolerance. The researchers found no improvement in any of these parameters in subjects taking 800 mcg of chromium per day for three months.
Dietary Guidelines and MyPyramid
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans were updated in 2005 and a few months later, MyPyramid was introduced (www.mypyramid.gov). The most important highlights include:
- Consume less than 10% calories from saturated fat; keep fat consumption to 20-35% with most fats coming from fish, nuts and vegetable oils.
- Consume 3 or more ounce-equivalents of whole-grain products per day. At least half the grains should come from whole grains.
- Two cups of fruit and 2-1/2 cups of vegetables per day are recommended for most individuals.
- Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
- Consume less than 2,300 mg sodium per day. (This number goes to 1,500 for middle-aged Americans, Blacks and those with hypertension).
- To prevent gradual, unhealthful body weight gain in adulthood: Engage in approximately 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week.
Low-fat diets show benefits
- A one-year study of obese children examined the impact of a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet fed ad libitum on body weight. It found that the children were able to lose a substantial amount of weight after one year and that their hunger hormone, ghrelin, did not increase.This study suggests weight loss on such a diet can be achieved without a substantial increase in hunger that undermines efforts to keep weight off with a higher-fat diet.
- Breast cancer patients advised to follow a diet with 20% fat or less had a significantly lower risk of developing breast cancer after 10 years.
Being overweight ages you faster
Indeed, a study published in the June 2005 online edition of the Lancet, by a team of British and American researchers, suggests overweight and obese people are aging faster than normal weight people. These researchers found a way to determine biological age by measuring telomeres, at the end of chromosomes that shorten with age.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.