Here are is a summary and some excerpts from the lengthy and sometimes confusing dietary guidelines: (click on the underlined words to get more information)
- The majority of Americans are overweight or obese and yet undernourished in several key nutrients. So it is important to go to choosemyplate.gov and determine what a healthy diet is for you. They don’t use a pyramid anymore, but rather a “plate”. One plan doesn’t fit everyone, so this website tailors it to your needs. However, general guidelines are listed below, for adults. Click here for kids.
- Be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week. About 60 minutes a day may be needed to prevent weight gain. Children and teenagers should be physically active for 60 minutes every day.
- Consume two cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables per day minimum, preferably raw (double this for leafy greens [salads]). To make it simple, the USDA now suggests making half your plate fruits and vegetables. What counts as a cup of fruit? What counts as a cup of vegetables?
- Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. In particular, select from all five vegetable subgroups (dark green, orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables) several times a week.
- Consume 6 to 8 ounces daily of grains, with at least half your grains coming from whole-grain products (unrefined/unmilled).
- Consume 3 cups per day (~2 for children <8yrs) of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products. What counts as a cup? Note that some experts recommend against dairy for adults.
- Eat 5.5 to 6.5 ounces of protein from the meat/fish/poultry/eggs/nuts/beans group. What counts as an ounce? Overall, consumers can safely eat at least 12 oz. of a variety of cooked seafood per week (Click here for more details about eating seafood safely, including comments on mercury content.)
The above guidelines are summarized in this chart: (click to enlarge)
See guidelines listed as “cups” instead of servings — click here
Other Guidelines and Concerns:
- Americans (adults and children) eat too many calories from foods high in solid fats and added sugars (SoFAS), including sugar-sweetened beverages.
- One-fifth of American women are obese when they become pregnant, which is bad for both mother and child. Click here for dietary guidelines for pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Behaviors that lead to obesity include too much TV, too little physical activity, eating out frequently (especially at Fast Food Restaurants, snacking on energy-dense food and drinks, skipping breakfast, and consuming large portions.
- A daily multivitamin/mineral supplement does NOT offer health benefits to healthy Americans, and some supplements have been associated with harmful effects and should be pursued cautiously. [Stay with whole-food supplements, email me for what I take.]
- Most Americans should decrease consumption of energy-dense carbohydrates, especially refined, sugar-dense sources
- Americans should choose fiber-rich carbohydrate foods such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, and cooked dry beans and peas as staples in the diet.
- At present, Americans consume excessive amounts of sodium and insufficient amounts of potassium.
Personal food plan calculator : (updated 2010 Food Pyramid guidelines in a format that resembles a plate)
“How Much Are You Eating” compares guidelines to actual common portion sizes