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post Aug 11 2004, 11:08 AM
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Press Release Source: Partnership for Essential Nutrition

Dietary Guidelines Committee Affirms Importance of Carbohydrates for Health and Weight Control
Wednesday August 11, 6:01 am ET

WASHINGTON, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- The Partnership for Essential Nutrition -- a coalition of consumer, nutrition and public health groups -- today applauded the recommendation of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that Americans get the majority of their daily calories from carbohydrates, stating that this action will help dispel the myth that extreme low-carb diets are healthy.
Responding to the release of the committee's draft technical report, which will be used by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to issue the updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans in January 2005, the coalition said that the committee's position regarding carbohydrate consumption will help counter the misleading claims in the marketplace that have fueled the low-carb craze. This is especially important because a new survey conducted for the Partnership finds that one in five (19 percent) adults are trying to lose weight by severely restricting the amount of carbohydrates they consume. As a result, many low-carb dieters are making unwise decisions about the amount and types of foods they eat every day, increasing their long-term risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and several types of cancer. Severe carbohydrate restriction also leads to such short-term side effects as severe constipation, gastrointestinal problems, nausea, repeated headaches, difficulty in concentrating and loss of energy.
"Severely restricting carbohydrates is not healthy and offers no advantages in terms of either fat loss or long-term weight control," said Barbara J. Moore, Ph.D., president and CEO of Shape Up America!, the anti- obesity initiative founded by Dr. C. Everett Koop which formed the coalition. "Having the government issue new guidelines that emphasize the need for carbohydrates will be an important weapon in combating the falsehoods surrounding low-carb diets. This blue-ribbon committee's deliberations will also help overweight Americans reduce their caloric intake while increasing their consumption of a variety of foods primarily composed of carbohydrates, and especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy products."
Comprising 12 leading non-profit consumer, nutrition and public health organizations, the members of the newly formed Partnership for Essential Nutrition are: Alliance for Aging Research, American Association of Diabetes Educators, American Council on Science and Health, American Institute for Cancer Research, American Obesity Association, National Consumers League, National Women's Health Resource Center, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Shape Up America!, Society for Women's Health Research, University of California at Davis, and Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center.

Of key importance to the members of the Partnership is using the 2005 Dietary Guidelines to improve the public's understanding of the amount of carbohydrates needed each day for good health. This will entail educating consumers to follow the recommendation by the Institute of Medicine (part of the National Academy of Sciences) that children and adults get a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates daily to support normal brain function, a position that the Dietary Guidelines Committee supports. Issued in 2002, the IOM's Dietary Reference Intakes Report states that adults should get 45 percent to 65 percent of their calories from carbohydrates, 20 percent to 35 percent from fat, and 10 percent to 25 percent from protein.
At the same time, the Partnership will be working to raise awareness that the Dietary Guidelines and the Food Guide Pyramid, which translates the guidelines into a graphic symbol, do not sanction any strategy that excludes a macronutrient or food group, such as extreme low-carb diets. Moreover, the Partnership supports the view of the leading nutrition groups that the Dietary Guidelines must educate the public about the pivotal role of calories in promoting energy balance and weight control, which will also help to correct the misperception that carbohydrates alone cause weight gain.
The Partnership for Essential Nutrition is a broad-based group of non- profit consumer, nutrition and public health organizations formed in 2004 to promote programs, policies and research that will advance public understanding about the essentials of a nutritionally balanced diet. Dedicated to providing guidance regarding the important contribution that all three macronutrients -- carbohydrates, protein and fat -- play in promoting good health and successful weight loss, the coalition launched a major educational initiative in June 2004 to provide specific information about what carbohydrates are and what can happen when people don't get enough.

More information about the Partnership and its campaign are available at the coalition's new Web site, http://www.essentialnutrition.org.
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