Hi! My name is Allie, and I’ve just joined the Lumi team! I’m a second year student at UVA studying environmental and food policy – basically that means I want to save the world when I grow up and I want to eat healthy food while doing it. I’ll be posting blogs about food policy and my passion for living the Lumi life. I’m no expert and will never claim to be, but I’m excited to share my perspective with fellow Lumi lovers!
So, what’s going on in food policy? This month, there’s actually been a pretty major development – the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services have issued new federal dietary guidelines. That might not sound like a big deal, but it is! It only happens every five years.
While these guidelines may not directly impact your decisions in the grocery store, they still influence our country’s collective diet. For instance, the guidelines inform what foods are provided in school lunch programs and in national food assistance programs. This has a widespread impact, because the school lunch program feeds 30 million children every day. Also, the guidelines are often taught as part of school curriculums—remember the Food Pyramid?
Furthermore, food corporations and the agriculture industry care about these guidelines too – think meat producers, sugar companies, chicken farmers, etc. As the guidelines recommend more or less of certain foods, the various stakeholders in the food industry react accordingly. In fact, these wealthy industries have major lobbying power that allows them to influence what goes into the guidelines. This is something that really frustrates me – protecting the interests of wealthy corporations should never come before protecting the health of the public! The good news is these guidelines have some really positive recommended changes in them that encourage healthier living.
Right now, the guidelines are in the form of a long report only available on health.gov. In the coming months, the federal agencies will release a downloadable pdf. Here are the main guidelines (as posted on health.gov):
Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan – duh! That’s Common Sense 101.
Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. Lumi offers all of this in our 100% organic, cold pressed juice. It’s nothing but real, nutrient dense food—the way nature intended.
Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Luckily, Lumi has zero added sugars!
Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Think Lumi!
Support healthy eating patterns for all. We love this one! Lumi’s mission is Love yoU, Mean It, and our goal is to help people live healthier lives through real food.
Additionally, you can find the key recommendations for following the new guidelines here.
One way these guidelines are different than those from previous years is the wider view that focuses on healthy patterns, rather than solely focusing on specific foods or food groups. Another major change (improvement, in my opinion!) is the emphasis on limiting added sugars.
Currently, so much of the food available in our grocery stores is overly-processed, sugar-packed foods. These companies use successful marketing and advertising tactics that make it difficult to know what is really healthy.
Just as a convenient example, think of all the juices you could choose from in grocery stores. Many of these have tons of added sugars, but you might be under the impression that you’ve picked a healthy drink. Always check the ingredient list! Lumi Juices have no added sugar, so we can help you stick to this guideline ;) Being mindful of added sugars is incredibly important, and we’re thrilled to see that highlighted.
Another notable component of the guidelines is that they recommend that boys and men should eat less protein, such as meat, poultry and eggs. The guidelines have been met with some controversy from the meat industry, because having half of the population reduce their meat intake would obviously impact this sector. This demonstrates the industry involvement I was talking about before.
I’m excited about these guidelines because we at Lumi are all about helping people be their healthiest and happiest. I’ll be sure to keep you posted on more food policy news to come!