What should we eat?

images (4)Penelope Slade-Sawyer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), openly told about obesity epidemic in new research for “The Dietary Guidelines for Americans”.

Every five years, HHS and the USDA publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans which basically tell us what we should and what we shouldn’t be eating. To advise them on what these nutrition “rules” should be, the Secretaries of these two agencies appoint a committee of top scientists to review loads of research and come up with an advisory report that will serve as the basis for the Dietary Guidelines.

At the begining of 2010, the 13 scientists appointed to the advisory committee released their report. The whole “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” was published in the end of 2010.

Now we would like to share with you main points of these “Guidelines”:

1. Eat fewer calories.
Do you have any idea how many calories you are eating? No, we guessed not. For most people it’s somewhere around 2,000 calories—to maintain their current weight. You must have more calories only in case of hard manual labor.It is possible to count the amount of calories you’re taking: you need to write down all the food you’re eating during the week, so then you can count how many calories you get per day and how many calories you burn.

2. Get more of your food from plants.
This report emphasizes eating more vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Eating vegetarian isn’t so hard, we think, when you can make delicious Black Bean Croquettes and 20 more must-try vegetarian recipes here.

3. Eat more fish.
For a while now, most health experts have been recommending that people eat two servings of fish a week to get the heart-healthy omega-3 fats they provide, but this is the first time that the advice to increase intake of seafood has been made for the population as a whole. The previous recommendation in 2005 to eat more fish was specific for the population at risk—people with heart disease to reduce their risk of mortality.

4. Switch to low-fat dairy.
Full-fat dairy products are high in saturated fat, which has been linked with health problems, including heart disease. Choose low- or nonfat dairy to limit intake of saturated fat. Including dairy in your diet is a great way to get calcium—a tooth-strengthening and bone-strengthening mineral that most of us don’t get enough of. Plus, new research suggests that replacing full-fat dairy with low-fat dairy may also help lower blood pressure.

5. Eat only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.
Reduce the intake of processed meat, especially fried bacon, fatty sausages and burgers.Notice the focus on moderate amounts of lean meats—this is new. Previously the recommendation was to make choices that were lean or low-fat. Now the recommendation takes it a step further and suggesting moderation. At EatingWell, we love meat and poultry but keep our portion sizes to 3 ounces.

6. Reduce intake of added sugars and solid fats.
Eat fewer foods containing added sugars and solid fats (e.g., butter), which contribute calories and few, if any, nutrients.
7. Reduce sodium and refined grains.
You can’t get slim ’till you drink soda. Soda contains great amount of sugar, so you’re getting fat without eating.

8. Exercise!
Are you meeting the current Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, which encourage all adults to do 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate-intensity or 1 1/4 hours (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity or an equivalent combination? If not, the experts suggest you do. These guidelines also recommend muscle-strengthening exercises that are moderate or high intensity, and involve all major muscle groups, 2 or more days a week.

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