The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourage the consumption of more healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, while limiting sodium, saturated and trans-fats, added sugar and refined grains. They recommend that Americans reduce their sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day and that less than 10 percent of daily calories should come from saturated fat.
The new dietary guidelines also emphasize balancing calorie intake with physical activity in an effort to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic disease and reduce the prevalence of obesity.
SheKnows.com talked to Glenn Gaesser, Ph.D. and author of Big Fat Lies: The Truth About Your Weight And Your Health, about what the new dietary guidelines mean for the majority of Americans.
Since the new dietary guidelines are fairly comparable to the previous version (i.e., a focus on whole-grains, fruits and vegetables), there isn't anything suggested that should come as a huge shock to anyone. According to recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, almost 34 percent of Americans are obese, which indicates we're still making the wrong food choices. "Everyone knows that we should be eating more whole grains and fruits and vegetables, and to limit intake of foods with lots of added sugar, saturated fat and salt, but living in the USA makes it a challenge," Dr. Gaesser says.
He notes that the healthy eating recommendations of the current guidelines have been made in previous versions -- the problem remains that very few people follow the recommendations. "When the food guide pyramid came out in the early 1990s, surveys several years later indicated that less than 10 percent of Americans actually followed the recommendations," he explains. "People still eat too few fruits and veggies, and dietary fiber intake is only about half of what it should be. So I do not think that the dietary guidelines will have much impact."
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