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Dietary guidelines for sustainability

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Gussow, J.D.
Clancy, K.L.

A broad-range perspective on the content and implications of nutrition education is presented. The perspective stresses the importance of recognizing effects of food choices on the food supply, global resources (agricultural, economic, natural) and the long-term stability of the food system, as well as on individual nutrition and health. The term "sustainable diets" is proposed to describe recommendations for food choices that support life and health within natural system limits into the foreseeable future. General suggestions are provided to help nutritionists incorporate the sustainability concept into their teachings about food choices. The following "Dietary Guidelines for Americans" are discussed as a framework for addressing issues of sustainability in dietary guidance: 1) Eat a variety of foods, 2) Maintain ideal weight, 3) Avoid too much fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol, 4) Eat foods with adequate starch and fiber, 5) Avoid too much sugar, 6) Avoid too much sodium, 7) Drink alcoholic beverages only in moderation. Learning to view foods as more than just sources of nutrients may guide consumers toward sustainable food choices. A shift to sustainable d0617iets would be an important first step in widespread adoption of a sustainable agriculture policy that promotes the conservation of natural resources and regional self-reliance in food production and consumption.(

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