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Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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What the New USDA Dietary Guidelines Mean For You

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On January 31st, 2011 the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released the 2010 dietary guidelines, a guided report giving nutrition recommendations to the general public based on current needs of our country and population. Published every five years, the USDA guidelines provide tips on healthy eating coupled with adequate exercise, while providing updates as nutrition research and trends change over time.

The 2010 guidelines didn’t revamp our way of thinking in regards to health and nutrition, but instead built upon past guidelines and made recommendations clearer and simpler for the general public to follow. The guidelines aren’t meant to be scientific and hard to follow—they are made to be simple and allow individuals to reach their goals through small changes that can produce big results. 

Don’t believe that the guidelines will provide realistic, simple recommendations that won’t deprive you? Think again! Below is a sampling of some of the guidelines so you can decide for yourself.

  • Enjoy your food but eat less.
  • Avoid oversized portions.
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
  • Switch to fat-free or low fat (1%) milk.
  • Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals—and choose the foods with lower numbers.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation: up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults if legal drinking age.

These guidelines are simple and doable and can help you reach your goals through small changes. Eat food that you enjoy, but watch portion sizes and eat less. Supply your diet with nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy, and low sodium foods. Be aware of portion sizes and make simple changes like choosing water over sugary drinks, and limiting alcohol consumption. Following the USDA recommendations can bring you closer to living a longer, healthier life without sacrificing your favorite foods.

For more information and a breakdown of these new guidelines visit: http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Dietaryguidelines.htm

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Tags: Nutrition Trends

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About the Author


MS, RD, CSSD, LD/N

Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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