What are SoFAS and Why You Should Care

The US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) just issued it’s new dietary guidelines.  The guidelines are issued every five years, so this is the first time since 2005 that they are being updated. For the first time, the guidelines are shining a light on the obesity problem and have recommendations to help Americans fight obesity.

Here are the highlights of their recommendations. Of particular interest is section D, where they get down to the details of their recommendations.

♦The first two sections encourages us all to eat healthy foods, and offers guidance on how to achieve that goal.

♦The third section begins to address SoFAS. The cute government name for not so cute “foods.” Solid Fats and Added Sugars. The committee actually encourages people to AVOID sugar-sweetened beverages. Not just suggests they limit the amount they drink, but avoid them altogether. That should be interesting for soda manufacturers and lobbyists during the public comment time to come.

♦The report also addresses the reduction of  childhood obesity by trying to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.

I have to admit that I am encouraged by these recommendations. I am not a big government person, but having these guidelines can serve as a starting point and open up a dialogue concerning the sad state of Americans. When 66% of the adults in our country are medically overweight or obese that is a problem. Add to it the number of children who also struggle and there really is a crisis.

What are your initial thoughts? Do you see guidelines such as these making a difference in the lives of ordinary Americans any time soon?  Diane

21 thoughts on “What are SoFAS and Why You Should Care

  1. Sara N. says:

    I do care about these studies, because that is often where the funding for school programs is justified. I too think it will be interesting to see what the reaction from the companies who make their money off these products.

    It also makes me glad that I am on a healthy path now. Thanks for the info Diane!

  2. John says:

    I try to avoid the SOFA’s too. It’s nice to see them actually say avoid something rather than worry about some companies not liking them say that.

  3. Mbini says:

    I’m so glad governments acknowledge their responsibility. I read the previous guidelines with interest and I bet you most Americans never even opened this document.

    The challenge i that whilst we do all we can to instill healthy habits to our kids, school tuck shops do the very opposite. My son asked why my batata fritas (fries) are not as nice as the ones at school.

    I was so glad he asked. I told him about the health benefits of baked potato wedges versus the fried ones. Ultimately its parents’ responsibility to inform and guide. But schools need to be more responsible too.

    Sofas is a cute name indeed. Thanks Diane.
    .-= Mbini´s last blog ..As my Life Moves On =-.

  4. Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman says:

    I think the suggestions are good, but I wonder if creating they’re pointless to most people. I mean, how many people who should really follow them will ever know the guidelines have been updated–or that there are guidelines in the first place? I know the obese and overweight people in my family don’t. Honestly, I think our best bet is to get PC doctors on board. If only their numbers weren’t dwindling, their patient list ballooning, and their time limited more and more. That’s who most people–especially older Americans–listen to the most. Man, I sound like Debbie Downer!
    .-= Tracey @ I’m Not Superhuman´s last blog ..June Q&A =-.

  5. Dr. J says:

    Thanks Diane! I’ve been wondering myself about these new guidelines. I don’t know, but I am hoping that school systems and other large organizations, etc will use these guidelines to improve the food under their control, otherwise it will be about as useful as “just say no.” (Which, fortunately, some of us do-like many of your readers 🙂
    .-= Dr. J´s last blog ..Yes, You Can Quit Smoking and Lose Weight =-.

  6. Emergefit says:

    I will reserve comment until after I read through them this weekend. I will simply say, these are the same people who gave us health & financial reform — how are those working out for us. This is an area, my opinion, that I would like to see government stay completely out of, and allow the people to evoke change — from the grass roots up.

    That’s why blogs like this, and the work that you do are so important Diane — this movement is where true change will come from, not from politicians and government appointed officials.
    .-= Emergefit´s last blog ..It Ain’t Easy Being Lean… =-.

  7. Margaret says:

    I happened to walk through the family room when Diane Sawyer was reporting the new pyramid. It and the new guidelines will appear in schools and dieticians offices, etc. Every little bit helps. One problem is that most of us have sedentary jobs now, and we can’t walk anywhere from our homes unless we’re walking for exercise. We don’t need many calories, but we have an abundance of food. Our social occasions revolve around food. And most of what is in the store to eat is processed with excess sugar and sodium. I only see the trend reversing if we educate everyone we can. Thanks Diane for doing your part.

  8. Jules - Big Girl Bombshell says:

    I will take a look at these but to be honest, this is what I believe…It doesn’t matter what the proper guidelines say, what recommendations we can follow, its push for instant gratification that has become the problem. It is so much harder to go day to day and do the right thing in every area when the “kudos” go to the big changes. That is why I LOVE your blog. It encourages me to stick with the slow subtle changes needed NOT the instant gratification and escape that got me here in the first place….LOVE your blog (and you)
    .-= Jules – Big Girl Bombshell´s last blog ..Follow Your Heart Friday =-.

  9. asithi says:

    I am not sure if this study is going to have any immediate impact. But it is nice that the government is finally saying to avoid sugar beverages instead of “drinking in moderation.” I do hope it will start to limit the sugary drinks in the schools.

  10. Pam says:

    I wish this meant more than I am afraid its going to. As great as the acknowledgement is to have, people will do as they please – its kind of like cigarettes – the government just made companies remove misleading phrases from packaging (lights, etc), and add additional warnings, and its been having zero impact on smokers. Short of making regulations into law, which I am totally against, I am afraid people will always do as they please, even to their own demise.
    .-= Pam´s last blog ..Weigh In For June 18, 2010 =-.

  11. Jody - Fit at 52 says:

    I am with Dr. J, Diane… I hope that some will use them especially schools like Dr. J mentioned but I know like many other things, people read but don’t necessarily do. All we can do is keep getting the word out & hope for some to join us! 🙂
    .-= Jody – Fit at 52´s last blog ..Salsa Recipe =-.

  12. Leah says:

    I’m not sure I like the government getting involved in personal choice. I see the real change coming in people’s lives from the examples they see around them in everyday life and from their doctors.

    Instead of saying just what not to drink or eat why don’t they also offer funding for the farmers of America to grow more crops and raise healthier animals so we can have more fresh produce and good meats available at a cheaper price? It’s a thought and I’ll definitely have to think more on this.

  13. Andrea@WellnessNotes says:

    I think it’s important to make people aware that solid fats and added sugar aren’t good and that we should try not to consume them at all. I, too, hope that they will especially change what’s served in schools, as so many kids eat and drink a big portion of their calories at school.

    The new guidelines may not change what people choose to eat immediately, but hopefully it will make a difference over time.
    .-= Andrea@WellnessNotes´s last blog ..Some Farmers’ Market Fun After An Eventful Week =-.

  14. Debra says:

    It would be great if the snack food companies took this as a cue to create honesttoGod good for you snacks and drinks that taste good.

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