The dietary guidelines were last updated in 2010 and recently the advisory panel that helps shape America’s official dietary guidelines announced some interesting nutrition suggestions.
Americans are addicted to sugar and fat - which, in and of themselves, hold addicting properties. These guidelines suggest consuming less added sugar, more heart healthy unsaturated fats, fruits and vegetables can help prevent chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Oh and a few extra cups of coffee won’t hurt either! Here is what you need to know:
1. Cut back on the sugar:
Added sugar means sugar that is not naturally occurring in our food (such as sugars that naturally occur in fruits and vegetables). Added sugars are found in the ingredients list and you can be 99.9% sure that if something is packaged, there is added sugar in it. Sugar is the #1 preservative used in America. Sugar is also known as honey, brown rice syrup, cane sugar, sucrose or high fructose corn syrup - so read the ingredients.
Check the nutrition label and go for items containing less than 5 grams of sugar per serving.
Toss the soda, juice, nutrition bars and flavored yogurt - these foods can contain more than your daily allotment of added sugar in just 1 serving! Yikes...
2. Healthy fats in moderation are good:
Unsaturated fats like those found in olive oil, avocados, fish and nuts are actually good for you and can help protect your heart. Aim to eat more of these unsaturated fats and less saturated fats like butter, ice cream and fried foods. Saturated fats increase cholesterol, can lead to weight gain and plaque build up in the arteries which causes heart disease and puts you at risk for a heart attack.
3. More fruits and veggies, please!
American diets are lacking vitamin D, calcium, potassium, fiber and iron. Many of these nutrients can be found in fruits and vegetables and well as low fat dairy, eggs, beans and legumes.
Fill 1/2 your plate with vegetables at meal time and aim for at least 2 servings of fruit per day (that’s at least 2 pieces of fruit a day) to improve health and prevent vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
4. 3-5 cups of coffee per day is A-OK:
Drinking three to five cups of coffee a day is not linked to any long-term health risks, and, in fact, has been associated with reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. Cheers!
5. Variety is key:
Fill your plate with lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, different types of lean proteins (plant and/or animal based proteins), whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, barley, oats) and healthy fats to get the most nutritional bang for your buck.
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