2011 Nutrition Highlight Review

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2011 Nutrition News Highlights

2010 Dietary Guidelines -- Published Early in 2011

REDUCE: daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg). Further reduce intake to 1,500 mg per day if you are are 51 and older or if you are African American. People should also reduce their daily sodium intake to 1,500 mg if they have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. Also on the list to reduce: SOFAS, which are calories from solid fats and added sugars. Steer clear of foods that contain refined grains too.

INCREASE: fruits and vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables. Increase consumption of beans and peas, whole grains, and skim milk. Plus, most people need to eat more potassium, fiber, calcium, and vitamin D.


MyPlate, the newest incarnation of the USDA’s food icons, was introduced as a replacement for MyPyramid in June, 2011. It has five main food groups: vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein. Its directions are simple: fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, choose lean protein and dairy foods, and manage portions. You can learn more about MyPlate at www.ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Salt Research

Dementia: 1262 healthy older people in Canada were divided into 3 groups based on their sodium intake. Researchers discovered that those with the highest sodium intake were significantly more likely to lose cognitive function over the next 3 years than those with lowest sodium intake.

Heart failure: A prospective study followed a group of 123 systolic heart failure patients whose condition was stable for at least 3 months at home. Patients were divided into 3 groups based on their average sodium intake, which was 1400, 2400, and 3800 mg per day. After 3 years of follow-up evaluations, hospitalization for heart failure occurred in 12%, 15%, and 46% of patients in the low, moderate, and high-sodium groups, respectively. The authors concluded, “These data provide support for more stringent sodium intake guidelines than those currently recommended for HF patients.”

Mortality: A recent study found increasing dietary sodium by 1000 mg/day increased total mortality by 20%, whereas an increase of 1000 mg of potassium/day reduced total mortality by about 20%.


Mortality from many: The Iowa Women’s Health Study found a modest but statistically significant increased risk of dying in those that took a multivitamin supplement. They also found that those women who took supplements of folic acid, vitamin b-6, copper, zinc, magnesium, and especially iron were significantly more likely to die than those not taking those supplements.

Omega-3 is good for the heart: A study found that omega-3 fatty acid supplements helped prevent the buildup of scar tissue in the heart. Another study found that patients who received an Omega-3 supplement had a 10% increase in heart function. Omega-3-rich seafood should be part of a heart-healthy diet and those who consume little or no fish may benefit from a daily 0.5 to 2g Omega-3 supplement.

Vitamin D benefits: Vitamin D supplements may help lower the risk of vision loss. Researchers found that women with the highest levels of Vitamin D 25-OH-D actually had a significantly reduced risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) compared with women with low levels. Given the known harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation in promoting AMD, this result is a bit perplexing, although it is consistent with one earlier study that associated AMD with poorer vitamin D status. Dr. Millen’s data did show that increased vitamin D from dietary sources was associated with a reduced risk of developing early AMD.

Calcium risk: Taking calcium supplements seems to reduce risk for osteoporosis only slightly while at the same time it appears to significantly increase the risk of having a heart attack by 30%. Vitamin D supplements will help lower that risk but they won’t prevent the adverse risks of the calcium.

Soy is Safe

Two recent studies of women who survived breast cancer both found that consuming more soy food appears to decrease the risk of breast cancer recurrence or death among survivors of breast cancer who take estrogen-blocking drugs.

Great Fat Debate

Harvard researchers used a study analysis to discover that the consumption of some foods was correlated with weight gain: potato chips (1.69 pounds), potatoes (1.28 pounds), sugar-sweetened beverages (1.00 pounds), unprocessed red meats (0.95 pounds), and processed meats (0.93 pounds). Other food items associated with weight gain included butter, refined grains, drinks that contained sugar, and sweets. By contrast, each serving of nuts, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and yogurt consumed were all associated with a modest reduction in body weight. Those who exercised were less likely to gain weight too.

The Nutrition Education Store is ready to bring you great materials for 2012! Choose from new books, MyPlate Materials, PowerPoint shows, and much more!

Want the highlights on a handout? Now it's possible! Check out our 2011 Review Handout.

You can also set up a great way to stick to your goals with a MyPlate Resolution Calendar handout: MyPlate Resolution Calendar.

Feel free to add comments and updates that we might have missed.

Happy New Year!

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