Every five years the United States government comes out with dietary guidelines and after a year of debate between health experts and food industry lobbyists, the new dietary guidelines were released yesterday.
Here are some key highlights from the new guidelines that you should know:
- Limit your intake of added sugar to 10% of your daily calories per day.
- Limit your intake of saturated fats to 10% of your daily calories per day.
- Limit the intake of sodium to 2300 mg or less per day for people aged 14 and older.
- No limit on the amount of cholesterol, which is a departure from previous guidelines which restricted the intake of cholesterol to 300 mg/day. The new guidelines mention that cholesterol in food isn’t necessarily harmful because studies show it doesn’t directly raise blood cholesterol. But the guidelines say people should eat as little cholesterol as possible.
- Caffeine and alcohol appear to be safe in limited amounts.
Where the study falls short
The new guidelines do not address the need to reduce processed meats and refined carbohydrates. Also, the new guidelines don’t tell you that foods high in saturated fat, namely processed foods, contain cholesterol as well.
The new guidelines aims to make it clear that Americans need to change the way they eat to reduce the rate of obesity and diet-related diseases such as Diabetes, Hypertension, High Cholesterol and Heart Disease. The new guidelines encourage people to develop healthy eating habits by including a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Healthy eating habits include:
- A variety of vegetables: dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables
- Fruits, especially whole fruit
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grain
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes such as beans and peas, soy products, nuts and seeds
- Oils from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean and sunflower. Oils from nuts, seeds, seafood, olives and avocados