Maintaining calorie balance (calories in, calories out) over time to attain and maintain a healthy weight, and a focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages (items that contain plentiful amounts of vitamins and minerals and few calories), are the main concepts of the new 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines, which are intended for Americans ages two years and older, contain dietary recommendations based upon these concepts to promote overall health. A new food pyramid supporting these recommendations will be released in the coming months.
Following is a summary of the new guidelines:
- Maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life (childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and older age) to manage body weight.
- Increase physical activity and reduce the amount of time spent in sedentary behaviors.
- Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg). For people 51 and older, and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease, reduce daily intake to 1,500 mg.
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fat and replace them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
- Consume less than 300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
- Limit foods that contain trans fat, solid fats (fats that are usually not liquid at room temperature, such as butter, stick margarine, beef and chicken fat), added sugars (sugars, syrups, and other caloric sweeteners that are added to foods during processing or preparation, or consumed separately), and refined grains (any grain product that is not a whole grain). Replace solid fats with oils when possible.
- Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole grain consumption by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
- Increase fruit and vegetable intake, and consume a variety of each.
- Increase consumption of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.
- Choose a variety of lean protein foods.
- If alcohol is consumed, it should be done so in moderation (up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men) and only by adults of legal drinking age.
- Follow food safety recommendations when preparing and eating foods to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans also contain specific recommendations for women capable of becoming pregnant, women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, and individuals age 50 years and older. To view the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans in detail, visit The Food Cop’s web site at http://thefoodcop.com/. New dietary guidelines are published every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).