Pollock Communications authored a piece for O’Dwyer’s March 2011, volume 24, number 3 issue: New Dietary Rules Require PR Messages Worth Their Salt. Check it out!
In the News
Nutrition Professionals Believe Consumers Will Be Tied in a Knot Trying to Meet Stricter Sodium Guidelines
The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released this week, have everyone scrambling to translate the recommendations into their daily meal planning. However, a recent survey of registered dietitians (RDs) conducted by Pollock Communications, a leader in healthcare, food and nutrition PR, reveals that although over half of RDs rank sodium as negatively as saturated or trans fat, it will be challenging for Americans to adhere to a lower sodium diet. The new Guidelines recommend a limit of 1,500 mg per day for people over 51 years of age, African Americans, and those with hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease – a group that collectively makes up about half of the US population. For the general public, the recommendations remain at 2,300 mg per day. Of the over 100 RDs surveyed, about 95% are concerned that eating 1,500 mg of sodium per day is either “unlikely” or “very unlikely” for consumers. Given that the average intake is about 3,400 mg per day, dietitians are calling for better choices from food companies to help bridge the gap.
Pollock Communications tapped its network of registered dietitians to help consumers and food companies make sense of the sodium changes. The survey uncovered that 90% of RDs feel that food companies could do more to help Americans meet the sodium guidelines and cite several examples of companies that are doing well at providing lower sodium options. While they do not support a tax on high sodium foods, nearly half of respondents suggest reductions in sodium in available foods as the primary solution.
“As registered dietitians, we understand that lowering sodium in the diet is a challenge and won’t happen overnight,” says Julie Upton, MS, RD. “Given the potential health benefits associated with sodium reduction, we will help educate consumers about translating the food label into meaningful information, and provide simple substitutions and recipe modifications to help them achieve the recommendations.”
Louise Pollock, President of Pollock Communications adds, “As key influencers in food and nutrition, registered dietitians shape consumer food shopping decisions, affect health policy, impact nutrition trends in the media and promote evidence-based recommendations.” As an organization focused on food, nutrition and healthcare, Pollock Communications always seeks RD expertise when advising food clients. “We will continue to work closely with our internal team of dietitians and RD network to guide consumers and food manufacturers on how to translate and achieve the new public health recommendations.”
By Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RD, CSSD
The Dietary Guidelines policy report is long. And it’s kind of like a textbook, so I’m not sure many people will be compelled to read it – regardless of whether or not you are snowed in. But the thing is, I may have poo-poo’d (sp?) it in my last post, but have actually found it to be quite thorough, comprehensive and even useful. I was skeptical because of the word “policy” and the word “report” and because national recommendations are often too broad and esoteric. They are rarely “user-friendly”. That said, I still don’t think that anyone needs to read the report cover to cover, but there are some ideas you can take straight to the market (or even dinner). Just flip to the appendices (or click on it to download the PDF).
While the appendices gives you lots of numbers that may cause blindness if studied for too long, it has a noteworthy table titled, “Key consumer behaviors and potential strategies for professionals to use…”, blah, blah, you get the idea. Well, it’s great. It walks through each of the main points of the guidelines…well, it’s more like walking through each of main parts of your diet…and gives tips and strategies that you can apply. Ideas you can really use. It doesn’t say, “eat more polyunsaturated fat” and then leave you hanging…it tells you what foods they are referring to and how to make them work with your lifestyle. It says stuff like, “replace meat or poultry with seafood twice per week.” Now that’s a goal that makes sense to me.
It certainly doesn’t do all that a dietitian can do (so I still recommend tapping a professional for top notch nutrition expertise), but it will help. Don’t delay: Check out the appendix of the policy report (www.dietaryguidelines.gov). It may help you figure out what to have for dinner!
By Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RD, CSSD
The release of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a hot topic in the world of food and nutrition – the world I live in. Strangely, it was on my mind so much that I had a dream the other night that I was asked to do a TV segment to discuss ice cream and how it fits with the guidelines. (Apparently, it does, because in my dream, I scooped perfectly portioned balls of ice cream for the studio audience – weird, I know). Well, I just finished watching the announcement from the USDA and HHS and I was wondering if anyone else cares about these guidelines. Did you take the day off to find out what they say and reorganize your kitchen and pantry? The thing is, I was so looking forward to hearing these experts tell us something useful…something we can easily implement…give us an “ah-ha” moment for a better diet and lifestyle.
Unfortunately, like my TV spot on ice cream, that was just a dream. The “new” guidelines appear to provide us the same vague, scientifically supported advice. Eat less. Maintain a healthy body weight. Move more. Eat more fruits and vegetables. Consumer less saturated fat, salt and sugar. Drink water. Pick low fat dairy. Make half your grains whole. And then they provide some numbers like, consume less than 10% of your total calories from saturated fat; less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day; 2300 mg of sodium or less, but if you’re over 51, go for 1500 mg of sodium or less. From the perspective of the general population (not living in the world of food and nutrition – rather living in the world of accounting, technology, motherhood or something more common), I still don’t know what to have for dinner.
So, I just printed out the 94 page Dietary Guidelines for Americans document. I’ll read it because it’s part of my job. But I’m wondering, during your busy day, will you waste some paper and drain your ink cartridge to print it? Will you study it to find nuggets of nutrition advice to help improve your lifestyle? After two years of deliberation, did these experts produce guidelines that are useful and helpful to you?
Maybe I’m just being a dietitian Debbie Downer. Maybe they will surprise us and come out with a thrilling Coca-Cola like campaign that helps us apply these life-changing directives.
In the meantime, eat less and I guess my dream may have the most helpful advice: you can eat it, but control your portion size…ice cream included.
An Overview from Healthcare Professionals, Government, Media and the Foodservice Industry.
Sodium is essential—not only for human health but also for the health of the food industry. Unfortunately, Americans consume too much of it. This overconsumption has consequences, including premature deaths and high healthcare costs amounting to over 75 million dollars a year. Numerous human clinical trials now provide significant scientific evidence that most Americans can improve their health by reducing their sodium intake, and that consumers need support from the food industry in order to achieve these reductions.