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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010

Every five years the federal government updates its recommendations on eating right for anyone over the age of 2. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issues a report based on the latest scientific research. It took the federal government more than seven months to issue the 2010 Dietary Guidelines which actually came out this year, 2011. These guidelines are issued jointly by USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services. Ironically, the head of USDA, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack has admitted that prior to heading USDA; he had never read the guidelines. Now not only has he read them, he is taking them to hear and applying them to his own diet. What is in these new guidelines? Foods we should eat less of and foods we need to eat more of.
  • Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
    • Many Americans need to reduce calorie intake and increase physical activity in order to maintain a healthy weight.
      • Control total calorie intake to manage body weight.
      • Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.
Foods to Reduce: Since too many Americans are filling up foods high in sodium, high in calories from fat, added sugars and eating refined grains, the Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing or limiting one's intake of these foods.
  • Reduce sodium intake:
    • Lower our intakes of sodium to less than 2300 mg a day. This is not easy to do as most of our sodium or salt comes from processed foods, fast foods and restaurants.
    • Even lower sodium intakes are recommended for those over 51 years of age and for all African Americans should limit their sodium intakes to 1500 mg a day.
  • Limit foods that contain refined grains: such as white bread, white flour, white rice
  • Limit added sugars – this would include sodas, candy, sugary cereals – any food in which sugar is the first or main ingredient
Foods to Eat More of: Replace these unhealthy food selections with foods that are good for your health. The Dietary Guidelines recommend we eat more nutrient dense foods.
  • Eating more vegetables and fruits – at meals fill up half your plate with fruits and vegetables
  • Eat more whole grains – half of all grains you eat each day should be whole grain.
  • Eat more fat-free or low-fat milk products including low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and cheese that is lower in fat such as part-skim milk cheeses.
  • Eat more seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, nuts and seeds 
The guidelines also noted the nutrients of concern for Americans meaning many Americans are not getting enough of these nutrients:
    Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets.
To obtain these nutrients focus on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.

To read the Executive Summary of these new Dietary Guidelines, go to;

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