During the 1970s, scientists began identifying links between people's usual eating habits and their risk for chronic diseases such as heart disease and cancer. They realized that a healthful diet was important not only to prevent nutrient deficiencies, but because it might play a role in decreasing the risk for chronic diseases. Since heart disease and cancer were, and still are, major causes of death and disability in the United States, there was a need to help Americans select health-promoting diets.
The first major step in federal dietary guidance was the 1977 publication of Dietary Goals for the United States by the Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs, which recommended an increased intake of carbohydrates and a reduced intake of fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, chronic: over a long period heart disease: any disorder of the heart or its blood supply, including heart attack, atherosclerosis, and coronary artery disease cancer: uncontrolled cell growth nutrient: dietary substance necessary for health carbohydrate: food molecule made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, including sugars and starches fat: type of food molecule rich in carbon and hydrogen, with high energy content saturated fat: a fat with the maximum possible number of hydrogens; more difficult to break down that unsaturated fats cholesterol: multi-ringed molecule found in animal cell membranes; a type of lipid same fiber: indigestible plant material that aids digestion by providing bulk
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