It Is Time for a Positive Approach to Dietary Guidance Using Nutrient Density as a Basic Principle1,2

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Abstract

The consumption of nutrient-dense foods and beverages, which would ultimately be identified by a scientifically validated nutrient density profiling system, should be instituted as a nutrition platform in the Dietary Guidelines as a part of a larger educational effort to help people choose more nutrient-dense foods and as the guiding principle for consumers to plan healthful diets. By consciously choosing more nutrient-dense foods and beverages, Americans will be in a better position to meet their nutrient requirements without overconsuming energy. An objective, science-based, and validated nutrient density profiling system is needed to characterize foods based on their nutrient composition and this concept should be integrated into the Dietary Guidelines. This article sets forth guiding principles for the development and implementation of a nutrient density profiling system based on the current knowledge of diet and health and recommends that the development of a nutrient density profiling system include testing for effectiveness against accepted measures of diet quality, such as the Healthy Eating Index, and measurable public health markers, such as blood lipids and blood pressure.

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