23 Things We Learned from the 2010 Guidelines

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1) Lowering saturated fat and cholesterol in your diet will help you lower your LDL, or bad cholesterol, and risk of heart disease.

2) Seafood twice a week is a good idea to lower heart disease. Experts say you should limit your seafood intake to no more than 12 ounces and eat a variety to avoid pollutants.

3) Milk is not a weight loss tool although getting enough calcium is good for your blood pressure and your heart. Keep it low in fat, sugar and salt. Skim milk is always the best choice.

4) Vegetarian protein helps lower the risk of cancer and a vegetarian diet has been shown to lower BMI and blood pressure.

5) If you do choose to eat meat, eat lean meat that is not processed, choose small por- tions and use safe preparation methods like baking or poaching to avoid carcinogens.

6) Vitamins do not lower your risk of chronic disease - but diet and exercise have been shown to do that many times over.

7) High fiber foods have been shown to increase satiety - meaning they help you feel fuller on fewer calories. However, putting fiber in a beverage to try to get all of your fiber requirements out of the way for the day, or to use as a “diet shake” is not the same thing.

8) Beans and legumes are way under-rated. They can help lower weight, cholesterol values and type 2 diabetes.

9) Fruits and vegetables can help you a lot but only if you eat enough on a regular basis. They lower the risk for heart attack and stroke, can be a good part of a healthy weight loss regime, lower certain cancers and make a good plan to lower the incidence of type 2 diabetes. But only if you are eating 5 or more servings per day.

10) Food environment is key. This applies to everyone. Poorer neighborhoods have to find a way to bring in more fruits and veggies. Busy people have to plan better meals so they don’t grab and go.

11) Breakfast is still the most important start to your day.

12) Everyone needs to limit their screen time to 1 or 2 hours per day and move more.

13) Snack choices should include nutrient dense, low-calorie foods like fruits and veggies versus what the food manufacturer deems is a snack.

14) Calories, not macronutrient ratios are what counts.

15) Calorie density is important for making better food choices. If most of your food choices are low in calorie density, you are probably going to eat fewer calories.

16) Adults should self monitor everything - you are the one responsible for daily weigh ins, food logging and activity plans. Having a plan and monitoring success are the keys to better health.

17) One or more fast food meals per week increases the incidence of overweight and obesity. We were surprised at this but it is mentioned in the beginning of the major conclusions section.

18) Glycemic Index is not important as a weight loss tool.

19) Sweet beverages do increase total calorie intake.

20) Sodium increases blood pressure - this is not a surprise but it is very strongly presented this year.

21) Food safety is important. Most people need to wash their hands, rinse their produce, pay attention to proper temperatures for cooking and storage and avoid cross contamination with raw foods.

22) Non calorie sweeteners do not increase total calorie intake - they make the biggest difference when they replace calorie dense foods.

23) Prebiotics are not proven - the research is still developing but foods that contain them may be consumed within accepted dietary patterns.

Visit dietaryguidelines.gov.

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