Yesterday was important for our world of Nutrition; the USDA released the 2010 Dietary Guidelines! These guidelines are “reviewed, updated if necessary and published every 5 years”. They are not intended for a specific age-group, disease, diet-type or condition. Rather, they are guidelines for everyone “ages 2 years and older.”
Because we all eat the same, right?
There are two simple concepts published to encompass all of the Key Recommendations:
“1) Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight.
2) Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages.”
As most of us know, calories IN have to equal calories OUT for weight management. This may not happen every day, but an overall balance will prevent losing or gaining weight. To some, this is common sense. To some, the second “concept” is part of that balance; something known, but not always practiced. To others, the obesity epidemic in America has reached a point where these needs to be guidelines.
So, there they are.
More specifically, here are the 2010 Key Recommendations
(by category, summarized):
Balancing Calories to Manage Weight
- Prevent overweight/obesity through improved eating & physical activity
- Control total calorie intake to manage body weight (which may mean consume more, less or the same – in/out balance).
- Reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.
- Maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life (as it will change during childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy/lactating, and older age).
Foods & Food Components to Reduce (all amounts per day)
- Sodium, to less than 2300 mg (<1500 mg if 51 or older or with specified disease states)
- <10% of calories from Saturated Fat (this hasn’t changed from the previous guidelines)
- Dietary Cholesterol, less than 300mg
- Trans fats: reduce entirely, “by limiting foods that contain synthetic fatty acids” (Look for “Hydrogenated oils” on Ingredient lists)
- Solid fats & added sugars
- Refined grains (i.e. aim for Whole Grains!*)
- Alcohol, consume in moderation (as always)
*In my opinion, a “goal” for America might be reducing the intake of refined grains. A GUIDELINE should be to consume all grains as whole.
Foods & Nutrients to INCREASE (ah, a positive approach!)
- Fruit and Vegetables (we’ll never get away from that one, soak it in!)
- More specifically, a variety of vegetables (dark greens, red/orange vegetables, and peas….but, ahem, if you don’t like peas, that’s okay too).
- Whole Grains – “Consume at least half of all grains as whole”.
Again, go BIG, America! Go for ALL of them. Why not?
- Increase intake of Fat-free/Low-fat Milk and milk products or fortified soy beverages. My two cents: Should those be soy/alternative milk options, choose those with at least 20% Daily Value of calcium per serving.
- Variety of protein (take that as you will – clearly lean animal meats are specified in the Guidelines, but as I try to convey here, there are plenty of other options!)
- Variety of seafood (there is an excellent article in the most recent Runner’s World – March, 2011 – with advice on purchasing seafood)
- Oils (e.g. olive, canola) in place of solid fats (e.g.. butter)
All of the above are lessons preached often, but are always worth repeating. A simple fact to keep in mind: none of the above will be fully accomplished by purchasing processed, packaged foods. Easy as that.
You can download and read the Executive Summary of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines here.
There, you will find a general explanation of the guidelines, and more specific statements for certain populations (e.g. pregnancy/breast-feeding, older age, etc).
Will any of the above change the way you eat, or think about food on a daily basis?
Where do you seem room for improvement, upon the next “review”?
What would you add in there?