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    Updated Dietary Guidelines Released

    WASHINGTON - The government-appointed Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on Friday proposed its new federal dietary guidelines, which are issued every five years and form the basis of the food pyramid.

    WASHINGTON - The government-appointed Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on Friday proposed its new federal dietary guidelines, which are issued every five years and form the basis of the food pyramid.

    The Committee's findings were broken down into nine major messages:

    -- Consume a variety of foods within and among the basic food groups while staying within energy needs.

    -- Control calorie intake to manage body weight.

    -- Be physically active every day.

    -- Increase daily intake of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat milk and milk products.

    -- Choose fats wisely for good health.

    -- Choose carbohydrates wisely for good health.

    -- Choose and prepare foods with little salt.

    -- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation.

    -- Keep food safe to eat.

    The Grocery Manufacturers of America on Friday issued a statement from its v.p. of scientific and regulatory affairs, Mark Nelson, Ph.D., commenting on the report.

    "The Committee's focus on calories is critical because -- as the Committee states -- calories do count. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle requires that we strike the right balance between how much we eat and what we do to burn calories. To achieve that goal, we must either eat less, move more or -- ideally -- do both," Nelson said.

    GMA also said it supports the Committee's recommendation that consumers reduce their intake of both saturated and trans fats, and referenced its member companies' efforts to formulate products that have little or no trans fat, and lower levels of saturated fat.

    However, GMA had a few areas of concern on behalf of its members. The statement said the Committee "ignored the importance of enriched grains as good sources of micronutrients such as folic acid and iron," and also failed to provide recommendations for alternative sources of calcium.

    The USDA and Health and Human Services Department will accept written comments on the report until Sept. 27. A public meting will be held on Sept. 21, and the Committee will finalize new guidelines in 2005.

    The final report of the Committee is available electronically at http://www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines.

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