New “Dietary Guidlines for Americans” Released This Week

Every five years the government comes out with new “Dietary Guidelines for Americans”, and on Monday the 2010 guidelines were released.  Many of the major recommendations from 2005 have remained the same, but there were a few changes.  For example, there is a greater focus on weight management since obesity rates have been rapidly increasing in the United States.  The new guidelines also have more emphasis on which foods Americans should eat more of instead of focusing mainly on what to decrease.

The following are some of the Key Recommendations:

Recommendations on foods to reduce:

  • Saturated Fat: Less than 10% of calories should come from saturated fat.
  • Trans Fats: Keep intakes as low as possible.
  • Cholesterol: consume <300 mg of dietary cholesterol per day.
  • Reduce intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.
  • Sodium:  Reduce sodium to < 2,300 mg per day.  The recommendation was lowered to <1,500 mg per day for people who are older than51, African American or those with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease.
  • Limit refined grains.
  • Alcohol: Limit drinks to 1 per day for women and 2 per day for men of legal age.

Recommendations on foods to increase:

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables: consume at least 2 ½ cups per day.
  • Whole grains: Make at least half of your grains “whole grains”.
  • Low-fat Dairy (skim milk, nonfat yogurt, etc)
  • Seafood: Consume 8 oz (2 servings) per week.
  • Plant foods: Eat more vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds
  • Choose more foods that are high in the following nutrients:
    • Potassium
      • Examples: Potatoes, Tomatoes, Legumes, Bananas, Prunes and Fish
    • Fiber
      • Whole grains, fruits, vegetables and legumes
    • Calcium
      • Milk, yogurt, cheese, fortified soy milk, sardines with the bones and fortified cereals.
    • Vitamin D
      • Milk, yogurt, soymilk, many types of fish

The full report not only provides the dietary guidelines, but it also provides the rational for the guidelines and offers strategies on how to meet the recommendations.   To see the full report, click here.  If the full report is too lengthy and you want to get right to some of the more practical advice, you can see the appendix which contains potential strategies for dietary changes.  This is a new addition to the guidelines and it has a lot of useful information.