Functional foods experts to sit on US nutrition panel

Experts in probiotics and satiety are among 13 experts newly appointed to the US government's 2010 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Included on the committee is Roger Clemens, associate director regulatory science and adjunct professor pharmacology and pharmaceutical science at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles.

Announcing his appointment, the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services said Clemens had "extensive experience in functional foods and technology with a special emphasis on probiotics and prebiotics."

Alongside him will be Joanne Slavin, professor at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. The USDA and DHHS said Slavin was an expert in carbohydrates and dietary fibre whose research expertise was focused on the role of dietary fibre in satiety.

The committee, which is made up of medical and scientific researchers from scientific institutions across America, is tasked with advising the US government on any necessary revisions to the existing dietary guidelines.

Selected for their expertise in dietary intake, human metabolism, behavioural change and health, the 13 experts will review scientific literature, listen to public comment and take part in open forums, before preparing an advisory report that will be submitted to the Secretaries of Agriculture and Health and Human Services. This report will be used in setting the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

"The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have become recognised as the nation's cornerstone of Federal food policy," said US Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer. "They are of particular importance to nutrition education of the general public."

"While the Dietary Guidelines are designed for a healthy population, they become increasingly important as we aim to reduce the burden of disease and death related to public health problems such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease cancer, and other chronic illnesses," added Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.

"This committee will consider the most current and sound scientific literature. Updating the Dietary Guidelines supports the President's Healthier US Initiative, which promotes eating a nutritious diet, physical activity, preventive screenings and making healthy choices."

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