Vitamin D is quite unique. Both a vitamin we consume and a hormone we make, it is often referred to as the sunshine vitamin because the process of making it in our bodies is initiated by sunlight hitting our skin (and is ultimately synthesized in the kidneys).
We can also get vitamin D from food sources. But the truth is, it’s actually pretty difficult to get adequate vitamin D from foods. Few foods are actually good sources (fatty fish like tuna and salmon are!), and most of those sources are fortified (like dairy products and breakfast cereals). Because of this, vitamin D has recently been the subject of much research and discussion.It is thought that 1 billion people worldwide have low blood levels of vitamin D. This is especially problematic for those living in northern latitudes where the type of sunlight exposure necessary for adequate vitamin D synthesis isn’t up to par for the majority of the year.
While many of you are probably aware of the food pyramid or MyPyramid, the logo for the Dietary Guidelines, most of you may not realize that the guidelines have very far-reaching implications – they direct federal nutrition and education programs that reach millions of Americans, including food stamps, the public school lunch and breakfast programs, and more. They also impact how food packaging is labeled.
Released on January 31st, there aren’t very dramatic changes from the 2005 guidelines, but some of the new nutrition recommendations are: