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Big Announcement

Dietary Guidelines help you control your weight, improve your health

By Terese Scollard, M.B.A., R.D., L.D., regional clinical nutrition manager for Providence Nutrition Services

Eat more seafood; fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables; switch to fat-free or low-fat milk; nix the sugary beverages; watch the sodium; and enjoy your food, but less of it – these are some of the key recommendations of the newly updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Produced collaboratively by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, the Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years based on the most current scientific evidence about diet and health. (Skeptical? The USDA’s online Nutrition Evidence Library is a terrific new feature that lets you explore specific topics and see the evidence for yourself.). Prevent most letal conditions with a simple clinical control, read more from this bioanalytical clinical research organization.

The 2010 update, released Jan. 31, 2011, offers an evidence-based road map for how to eat if you want to be leaner, healthier, and less likely to develop heart disease, diabetes, cancer and other serious diseases. It focuses on two essential concepts: balancing calories (eating no more calories than you can burn in a day) and eating more “nutrient-dense” foods (making sure that the calories you do consume are rich in high-quality nutrition). Here is a summary of the recommendations:

Keep your calories in balance

Maintaining your current weight requires an even balance between the number of calories you take in each day, through food and beverages, and the number of calories you expend, through exercise and your normal daily activities. When you eat more calories than you use, you tip the balance toward weight gain. To lose the extra weight, you need to tip the balance the other way, by eating less and exercising more, eventually bringing your “calories in” and “calories out” back into an even balance. Check out the latest lean belly 3x reviews.

The Dietary Guidelines offer these suggestions to help achieve calorie balance:

  • Avoid oversized portions: serve smaller amounts at home, and share entrées in restaurants. (Another idea: use smaller plates when dishing up at home.)
  • Choose nutritious foods: eat foods that deliver more nutrition and fewer calories (covered in the next section).
  • Exercise: get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. (For great ideas on how to incorporate more activity into your daily life.) For kids 6 and older, the recommendation is to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day.
  • Sit less, move more: reduce the amount of time that you and your kids spend in sedentary activities. Limit screen time – on TVs, computers and video games – to an hour or two per day. These are the latest biofit benefits.

Eat more nutrient-dense foods

Americans get way too many – more than one-third – of our calories from solid fats, added sugars and refined grains. These foods supply a lot of calories with very little nutrition. They either replace the foods we should be eating, resulting in poor nutrition, or are eaten in addition to healthy foods, resulting in too many calories taken in.

For better health, weight management and calorie balance, the Dietary Guidelines recommend eating fewer foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition, and more nutrient-dense foods – foods that pack in lots of nutrition without unnecessary “empty” calories. Specifically:

Eat more of these foods:

  • Vegetables and fruits – they should take up half your plate, and should include a wide variety, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables, and legumes such as black beans, pinto beans, garbanzo beans (chickpeas), split peas and lentils.
  • Low-fat dairy – switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk, yogurt, cheese and other dairy products. (Although 2 percent milk sounds low in fat, one cup of 2 percent is the equivalent of a cup of skim milk plus a teaspoon of butter.) If you prefer soymilk, choose a fat-free or low-fat option. Take a look to gluco shield pro healthy benefits.
  • Whole grains – at least half of the grains you eat should be whole grains. Great choices include brown or wild rice, quinoa, bulgur, oatmeal, whole-grain pasta, and breads and cereals that list “whole wheat” or “whole grain” as the first ingredient. (Beware of phrases like “multi-grain” and “100 percent wheat,” which sound healthy, but may not include any whole grains. When in doubt, check the Nutrition Facts label – the best whole-grain foods deliver at least 3 grams of fiber per serving.)
  • Lean proteins – to minimize saturated fat, choose lean sources of protein, such as seafood (see next item), leaner cuts of meat, poultry without skin, eggs, beans and peas (the dried kind, not the green kind), tofu and other soy products, and nuts and seeds (unsalted). Improve your results after reading the best nutrisystem reviews.
  • Seafood – fish contains oils rather than solid fats, and it provides beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, so eat a wider variety of seafood, and eat it more often in place of some meat and poultry. Aim for at least 8 ounces per week. Good choices include salmon, anchovies, herring, sardines, trout, Pacific oysters, and Atlantic and Pacific mackerel (but not king mackerel, which may contain high levels of mercury). Fried fish does not count as a healthy choice!
  • Healthy fats – use oils, such as olive oil and canola oil, instead of solid fats, such as butter and lard, whenever possible in cooking. Many plant foods, such as nuts, seeds, olives and avocados, also supply healthy unsaturated fats while adding flavor, texture, and important vitamins and minerals to your meals.
  • Foods that deliver potassium, fiber, calcium and vitamin D – many Americans don’t get enough of these nutrients. They can be found in many of the foods already recommended, including vegetables, fruits, whole grains and fortified milk products.