More and more these days we hear that America is fat and childhood obesity is on the rise. According to the CDC, the United States Morbidity and Mortality rates are associated with Chronic Diseases like coronary heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, and obesity. Most dietary guidelines are targeted to prevent these chronic diseases through epidemiological and experimental research. Through this research, it can be determined why types of diet, specific foods, and specific nutrients or food constituents maybe cause or prevent the development of chronic disease.
Granted these guidelines are no absolutes due to the variation of the population, but the guidelines represent to serve as reasonable recommendations for individuals. They are a synthesis of research from professional health organizations, such as the American Heart Association, the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetic Association, and the American Dietetic Association. These guidelines are updated periodically as new research published.
Enough of the backstory…get to it, Jen…ok, there are 12 dietary guidelines:
- Balance your food intake with physical activity to maintain or achieve a healthy body weight
- Eat a nutritionally adequate diet consisting of a wide variety of nutrient -rich foods. Super-foods are like, blueberries, almonds, broccoli, are great for this. You get more bang for your buck.
- Choose a diet moderate in total fat, but low in saturated and Trans fats and cholesterol. The acceptable dietary intakes of saturated fat and cholesterol respectively should be 10% or less and 300 mg. Furthermore, healthy diet plans are more conservative with total fat set at 10-20 % and less than 200 mg of cholesterol. Good oils to cook with are grape oil and olive. They can cook at a high heat and are less likely to change their molecular structure from (CIS to Trans). Sorry, I just geeked out on ya, lol
- Choose a plant-rich diet with plenty of fruits and vegetable, whole-grain products, and legumes. These foods are high in complex carbohydrates, phytochemicals, and fiber. This guideline ties in with another article I’ll be covering on The American Plate.
- Choose beverages and food moderate in sugars. In my terms, just drink water save the calories for the food. With all that artificial sweeteners out there and my organic chemistry classes – I’ll stick to water. There’s a topic for another post – types of sweeteners and possible side effects.
- Choose and prepare foods with low salt or sodium. The daily intake of ever-loved NaCl is less than 1500 mg. Funny I use to think it was 2500 mg. Well anyway, as I said above, the guidelines are bound to change, as new studies become known. A diet to look at if you really want to reduce the salt in your diet is The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Besides there are 9 calories per ounce of alcohol, that double the amount for carbs and proteins.
- Maintain a protein intake as a moderate and adequate level including from plant sources, long with smaller portions from fish and skinless poultry, and lean meats. The recommended intake is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight. Let’s break that down, you have 150 lb. adult male, they will need 58 g. of protein daily. This will be about 105 less for females, 52 g. I’ll discuss this further in my article The American Plate.
- Choose a diet adequate in calcium and iron. Individual’s susceptible to tooth decay should obtain adequate fluoride. Calcium and iron are particularly important to woman and children. Certain vegetables, like broccoli are high in calcium. Meat is a good source of iron. Fluoride is important for young children developing primary and secondary teeth, to help prevent tooth decay. Most common source for fluoride (natural or artificially) is the water supply. Fluoride in my opinion could be a bad thing since studies have attributed heavy metals like, fluoride to weight gain. Hey another topic to write on!!!
- Practice food safety, including proper food storage and preparation. Ok, this should be a no brainer. Store food to minimize bacteria contamination. Wash your hands in between preparing proteins, fruits and vegetables, and grains. Grilling, broiling, boiling, and microwave foods are the best way to limit various carcinogens; heterocyclic amines (HCA).
- Limit intake of food additives and dietary supplements. Most of your vitamins and minerals should come in food however, if you diet is deficient, look into adding a multivitamin that doesn’t excess 100% in of the daily recommended allowance (RDA).
- Enjoy you food but balance it within your overall diet. Be prudent.
I know this a lengthy post but it contains some vital information to keep in mind when you’re eating out or at the grocery store. If you have any comments please feel free to leave a reply below.
Williams, M. H. (2007). Nutrition for Health, Fitness, and Sport. New York: McGraw Hill.