2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Deals with Obesity Epidemic*

Compiled by Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N.

Because more than 1/3 of children and more than 2/3 of adults in the US are overweight or obese, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines places a stronger emphasis on reducing calorie consumption and increasing physical activity.

There were four major action steps for Americans in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) from Executive Summary*:

1.       Reduce the incidence and prevalence of overweight and obesity of the US population by reducing overall caloric intake and increasing physical activity.

2.       Shift food intake patterns to a diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.  Also, increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products and consume only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.

3.       Significantly reduce of foods containing added sugars and solid fats because these dietary components contribute excess calories and few, if any, nutrients. Also, reduce sodium intake and lower intake of refined grains that are coupled with added sugar, solid fat and sodium.

4.       Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Here’s the Key Recommendations. Use these lists as a check list to make you and your family healthier.

Balancing Calories to Manage Weight

  1. Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity.
  2. Control total calorie intake to manage body weight.  For people who are overweight or obese this means consuming fewer calories from both foods and beverages.
  3. Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.
  4. Maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life – childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breastfeeding and older age.

Foods and Food Components to Reduce

  1. Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce to 1,500 mg among people who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, pr chronic kidney disease.  The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. populations, including children, and the majority of adults.
  2. Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
  3. Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils and by limiting other solid fats.
  4. Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats like saturated fats and trans fats and added sugars.
  5. Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars and sodium.
  6. If alcohol is consumed, to should be consumed in moderation-up to one drink per day or women and two drinks per day for men – and only by adults of legal drinking age. One drink, as defined by AICR, the USDA and other health organizations, is: 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Foods and Nutrients to Increase

Individuals should meet the following recommendations as part of a healthy eating pattern while staying within their calorie needs.

  1. Increase vegetable and fruit intake.
  2. Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas.
  3. Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains.  Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grain with whole grains.
  4. Increase intake fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese or fortified soy beverages.
  5. Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  6. Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry. Seafood consumption of 8 oz or 2 servings per week is encouraged.
  7. Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.
  8. Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.
  9. Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets.  These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.

Recommendations for Specific Population Groups

Women capable of becoming pregnant:

  1. Choose foods that supply heme iron, which is more readily absorbed by the body, additional iron sources and enhances of iron absorption such as vitamin C rich foods.
  2. Consumer 400 micrograms (mcg) per day of synthetic folic acid (from fortified foods and/or supplements) in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet.

Women who are pregnant:

  1. Consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types.
  2. Due to their high methyl mercury content, limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces per week and do not eat the following four types of fish: tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
  3. If pregnant, take an iron supplement, as recommended by an obstetrician or other health care provider.

Individuals ages 50 years and older:

  1. Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals or dietary supplements.

Barbara Day, M.S., R.D., C.N, is a registered dietitian who has been teaching healthy lifestyles strategies to consumers for over 35+ years.

Image from: www.vwex.edu.

3 Comments on "2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Deals with Obesity Epidemic*"

  1. Barbara,
    I love your columns on Nutrition and would love to meet you. I will have the top food formulator in the country with me in Louisville the 22nd and or the 23rd nothing in concrete yet, he is flying in from San Francisco were his company Adept Solutions, Inc, http://russbianchi.com/wordpress/?page_id=2, and teaches Collage, he has a PHD 3 times and one of the most intelligent men I have ever meet. http://www.russbianchi.com
    I know that you told me that you were busy with the grandkids and that is great, but I was hoping that one day you could have lunch with us. It would be an honor to meet you. Thank you.

    Robert Corder

  2. Superbly illuminating data here, tnhaks!

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