What the New Dietary Guidelines for Americans Are Telling Us to Do for Better Health

Healthy Lunch

Image by abeckstrom via Flickr

By Julie Murphree, Arizona Farm Bureau

The United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have now released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the federal government’s evidence-based nutritional guidance to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic diseases, and reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.

But, what do the new guidelines tell us to do and what are its core health strategies?

The new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and seafood, and to consume less sodium, saturated and trans fats, added sugars, and refined grains.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans include 23 Key Recommendations for the general population and six additional Key Recommendations for specific population groups, such as women who are pregnant. Key Recommendations are the most important messages within the Guidelines in terms of their implications for improving public health. The recommendations are intended as an integrated set of advice to achieve an overall healthy eating pattern.

Here are some basic tips from the new guidelines

  • Enjoy your food, but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals – and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines is available at www.dietaryguidelines.gov.

For more information on dietary guidelines, see www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines and www.healthfinder.gov/prevention

To read regular article on health and nutrition subscribe to Arizona Farm Bureau’s Fill Your Plate blog. The subscribe window is in the upper right-hand corner of the page.

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