What do the 2010 Dietary Guidelines Mean to You?
On January 31, 2011 the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released. This is the 7th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are the federal governments evidence-based nutritional guidelines to promote health, reduced chronic disease risk, and decreased prevalence of overweight and obesity through improved nutrition and physical activity.
The full report provides 23 key messages with 6 messages specifically for population groups. I don't want to cover all 23, but five clear steps you can implement now to promote heart health today.
1. Calories in equal calories out.
It's essential you balance your calorie intake. That doesn't mean you can't enjoy your food, but you do need to eat less. Total calories is the bottom line when it comes to weight gain and weight loss.
Keep a food journal to monitor what you eat and replace high calorie foods with nutrient-dense low calorie foods.
This means reducing your intake of foods high in fat and simple sugars, while boosting your intake of whole grains, vegetables, and fruits. Evidence has shown individuals consuming a high fiber diet of whole grains tend to have lower body weights than individuals eating a diet low in whole grains.
2. Watch your portions
Nothing new, but worth repeating. If you supersize your orders when grabbing fast food, you're going to supersize your waistline. Use smaller plates when eating meals to help you learn to control your portion sizes.
3. Switch to low fat or fat free dairy.
If you've made a switch to 2% milk that's a step in the right direction, but 2% milk is not low fat. Take it a step further and go to 1% or fat free milk.
4. Drink water instead of sugar filled drinks.
Liquid calories do not provide a sense of satiety, which why it's so easy to overdo liquid calories. Save sugary beverages for special occasions and hydrate your system with water throughout the day instead.
5. Fill up on fruits and vegetables.
When serving yourself make half your plate fruits and vegetables, especially your dark-green, red, and orange vegetables. Don't forget the beans and peas. Let the other half of your plate before whole grains and protein.