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New USDA Report Recommends Shifts to Healthier Eating

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Could picking more fruits and vegetables while holding the sugar, salt and fat help you live better?  The latest dietary guidelines by the United States Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services reminds you that yes, you are what you eat.

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The newest Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages healthy eating patterns across a lifetime, with emphasis on overall food choices and calories. The goal is reducing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.  Mindfulness of calorie intake and getting enough exercise are also mentioned.

The report stops short of mentioning the benefits of organic foods or whole foods overall.  Yet, it mentions a need to shift to healthier eating patterns, including more nutrient dense foods instead of processed ones.  Specifically, it notes that we can limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats in our diet.

One of the more specific guidelines that dietitians came up with for this report was that Americans should consume:

  • Less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars
  • Less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium (even less for children under 15)

The emphasis of the report is health, based on the latest scientific research linking diet with disease risk.  The report states,

“Strong evidence shows that healthy eating patterns are associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Moderate evidence indicates that healthy eating patterns also are associated with a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancers (such as colorectal and postmenopausal breast cancers), overweight, and obesity. Emerging evidence also suggests that relationships may exist between eating patterns and some neurocognitive disorders and congenital anomalies.”

The report asserts that healthier eating habits are attainable for everyone, despite your traditional food preferences or even your budget.  Experts who created the report included those in nutrition, health and medicine.

In case you were wondering, and you happen to drink a steady diet of coffee or other caffeinated beverages, this report finally clears up one myth with its statement, “Caffeine is not a nutrient.”

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