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What We've Learned: Implications for Policy

Encouraging people to follow health-promoting dietary patterns inevitably has significant ramifications for education, agriculture, and economic policy. Here's some of what we've learned through our guidance and policy research:

  • Because most individuals cannot consume additional energy without gaining weight, the public should be told that additional servings of grains, fruits, and vegetables need to replace sources of added sugars and discretionary fat. Intakes of these components are currently higher than recommended.
  • Guidance needs to be directed not only at the amount of grains, fruits, and vegetables to consume, but the type. More emphasis should be placed on whole grains and dark green or deep yellow vegetables. Less emphasis should be placed on white breads and starchy vegetables.
  • Low income households in poor central cities and sparsely populated rural areas often have less access to food stores and face higher prices for food, including fruits and vegetables, compared with other households.
  • Supplying enough fruits and vegetables to meet dietary recommendations for all US consumers would require considerable adjustments in US agricultural production, trade, marketing practices, and prices of these commodities.

Last Modified: 18 Oct 2013