Making products that align with the Dietary Guidelines
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released yesterday, they are the U.S. government’s formal guidance on healthy eating and nutrition policy.
The Dietary Guidelines are foundational in guiding healthy nutrition choices for Americans. And, they also are the basis for regulations pertaining to nutrition labeling, school meals and other feeding programs, as well as the government’s “MyPlate” program.
The new Guidelines identify a healthy eating pattern as including a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat dairy, a variety of protein foods and limits on saturated and trans-fats, added sugars and sodium.
“We believe good nutrition is essential for overall wellness,” says Maha Tahiri, General Mills’ chief health and wellness officer and vice president of the Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. “We have been a long-time supporter of food based dietary recommendations that emphasize the importance of balance, variety and moderation to help Americans lead healthy lives.”
Maha says, by reducing sodium, trans fat and sugar across our portfolio and making it easier for consumers to increase whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables, General Mills delivers nourishing products people love that can help them make choices that align with the Dietary Guidelines.
As examples, she cites our whole grain cereals, Cascadian Farm fruits and vegetables and low-fat Yoplait yogurt as products that align very well with the 2015 Dietary Guidelines recommendations.
The Dietary Guidelines also outline recommendations to reduce intakes of sodium and added sugar. As consumers look to limit these ingredients, we’ve been working on reducing sugar and sodium across our portfolio while making it easier for consumers to increase whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits and vegetables. In fact, we’ve been working to reduce these limiters are part of our longstanding Health Metric, which measures and reports the company’s progress on nutrition and health improvements.
Just last month we announced great progress against our 2010 commitment to lower sodium in our U.S. retail products. General Mills has reduced sodium by at least 20 percent across seven of 10 product categories.
And we’ve also been working to lower sugar in our products. General Mills has been leading the way in reducing the sugar content in our cereals advertised to children. We are committed to reducing to “single-digit levels of grams of sugar per serving” all of our cereals advertised to children, and we are making solid progress.
Today, all Big G cereals advertised to children are 10 grams of sugar or less per serving, with some already at 9 grams. And last year, we reduced the sugar in our Yoplait Original yogurt by 25 percent.
Following nutrition guidance can be challenging. As a mother of three busy kids, I really want to make sure our family is eating healthy. But with work, activities and all of the demands the day can bring, this can be a daunting task, especially when we want to get everyone fed quickly (and make sure the kids actually eat something!).
General Mills offers an array of products, from whole grain cereals, low fat yogurts and frozen fruits and vegetables that not only are loved by families like mine, but can help us meet the Dietary Guidelines, bridging the gap between nutrition, convenience and taste.
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