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A bit more prosaically, the U.S. Department of Agriculture puts it this way: “Enjoy your food, but eat less … make half your plate fruits and vegetables.”
Cutting down on salt and stepping up physical activity also are emphasized in the latest edition of the government’s guidelines, released Monday. The guidelines, which must be updated every five years by federal law, influence school breakfast and lunch menus as well as the information food makers put on nutrition labels.
Among the 23 recommendations:
– Enjoy your food, but eat less.
– Avoid oversized portions.
– Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
– Switch to fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk.
– Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals — and choose the foods with lower numbers.
– Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
– Salt intake: no more than 2,300 milligrams per day, no more than 1,500 mg for those who are 51 and older, African Americans, have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease. (Current U.S. average is 3,400 mg of salt per day.)
– Less than 10 percent of calories should come from saturated fats, replace them with “good fats” like monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
– Replace some meat and poultry with seafood.
“The 2010 Dietary Guidelines are being released at a time when the majority of adults and one in three children is overweight or obese and this is a crisis that we can no longer ignore,” USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said. “The bottom line is that most Americans need to trim our waistlines to reduce the risk of developing diet-related chronic disease.”
At a press conference in Washington, D.C., accompanied by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Vilsack said he never paid much attention to the guidelines before becoming Agriculture Secretary. After realizing his own diet was “a long way” from the federal recommendations, he changed his eating habits. “Personally my life has changed,” Vilsack told reporters.
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