0207DietaryGuidelinessr.cfm New dietary guidelines help with health goals
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New dietary guidelines help with health goals

Eating less, making informed food choices and being physically active can assist people in reducing the risk of chronic disease, maintain a healthy weight and promote overall good health.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 illustrate these strategies through recommendations that accommodate the food preferences, cultural traditions and customs of the many diverse groups who live in the United States.

Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist, said the Dietary Guidelines recommendations traditionally have been intended for healthy Americans ages 2 years and older. However, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is being released at a time of rising concern about the health of the American population.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is intended for Americans ages 2 years and older, including those at increased risk of chronic disease.

"The intent of the Dietary Guidelines is to summarize knowledge about individual nutrients and food components into an interrelated set of recommendations for healthy eating that can be adopted by the public," Hermann said. "Taken together, the Dietary Guidelines recommendations encompass two overarching concepts to maintain calorie balance over time and to achieve and sustain a healthy weight; and focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages."

To get the full benefit, individuals should carry out the Dietary Guidelines recommendations in their entirety as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.

Hermann said it is important to balance calories to manage weight through improved eating and physical activity behaviors and to control total calorie intake to manage body weight.

"For people who are overweight, this will mean consuming fewer calories from foods and beverages," she said. "It's also important to increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors; and maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life--childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and older age."

The Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children and the majority of adults. It is also important for adults to:

--Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

--Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.

--Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats.

--Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.

--Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars and sodium.

--If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation--up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men--and only by adults of legal drinking age.

Hermann said individuals should meet the following recommendations as part of a healthy eating pattern while staying within their calorie needs:

--Increase vegetable and fruit intake.

--Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables, as well as, beans and peas.

--Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.

--Increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.

--Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products and unsalted nuts and seeds.

--Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.

--Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.

--Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.

--Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains and milk and milk products.

"It's important for individuals to build healthy eating patterns and select a pattern that meets nutrient needs over time and at an appropriate calorie level," Hermann said. "Individuals should account for all food and beverages consumed and assess how they fit within a total healthy eating pattern. Remember to also follow food safety recommendations when preparing and eating foods to reduce the risk of foodborne illness."

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