The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee cited increased evidence that among those who drink, consuming higher average amounts of alcohol is associated with increased mortality risk compared to drinking lower average amounts. Accordingly, the Committee tightened the previous recommendation that women should limit alcoholic drinks to one perday and men to two per day by recommending that both men and women who drink alcohol should limit it to one drink a day on days when alcohol is consumed. The Committee concurred with the recommendation of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans that those who do not drink should not begin to drink because they believe alcohol would make them healthier.

In another change, the Committee suggests that no more than 6% of energy should come from added sugars rather than the previous advice to avoid more than 10% energy from added sugars. Unhealthy processed foods make up a large proportion of the American diet. In his entertaining book, Salt, Sugar, Fat—How the Food Giants Hooked Us, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Moss convincingly documents that manufacturers of processed foods are more concerned with maintaining and growing their $1 trillion in annual sales and substantial profits than they are with optimizing the health of Americans. Extensively advertised processed foods from corporations’ stock the shelves of grocery stores and convenience outlets. Processed foods are “engineered” to be tasty, convenient, low cost, and have long shelf lives. But these desirable traits come with a cost to health. Typically, processed foods are packed with large amounts of added salt, sugar, and fat, ingredients that make foods less healthy but highly palatable, and some would even say addictive. How many of us can stop after eating just a few crunchy salt and fat-laden potato chips?

Moss explains that food scientists have discovered that the “mouth feel” of a crunchy food, like potato chips, is something we enjoy. Adding salt, sugar, and fat to foods is even more important to enhancing their desirability and enjoyment. Research has shown that there is a “bliss point” for certain optimal levels of added sugar and salt. These are the levels that make food the most pleasurable. For fat, there does not seem to be a bliss point—food preference research suggests that the more fat in or added to a food, the greater our gustatory pleasure.

A French study looking specifically at the health effects of eating processed food found that a 10% increase in the proportion of “ultraprocessed” food consumption was associated with a 14% higher risk of all-cause mortality over the 10-year duration of the study.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information.  I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in the book or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Wellness with a Lifestyle Checklist. References for most of the health related information in this blog can be found in the book, The Building Blocks of Health now available on Amazon at Copyright 2020 by J. Joseph Speidel.