An amazing body of scientists convene every 5 years to review scientific literature and set guidelines for the most optimal diet based on science for Americans.
You can view all of their 2010 findings, known as The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, by visiting dietaryguidelines.gov. The preliminary copy is up now.
We were quite pleased to see that the report was very com- prehensive, taking into consideration not only the research but the questions that tend to pop up from media inaccuracies and commercial product claims.
Here are the three lessons you need to take home, based on the major conclusions:
1) FIBER: WHOLE GRAINS, LEGUMES, FRUITS and VEGETABLES
Fiber is underconsumed. The best sources are whole grains, cooked dry beans and peas, vegetables, fruits and nuts. These items are the most important to include in your diet each day. Most people are so busy they resort to low-fiber processed foods on the go, but a little planning can put more of these in your diet.
Most people eat too many grain foods but not enough whole grains.
Fruits and vegetables can help you lower the risk for many chronic diseases, but only if you eat enough, which is 5 or more servings per day.
A more vegetarian diet will help lower the incidence of cancer along with BMI and blood pressure.
2) LOWER SODIUM
Lower the sodium/salt intake of your diet. This needs real work because the limit has been lowered to 1500 mg, which is about half of what most people eat in a day. Most of the salt you consume comes from packaged foods and meals eaten away from home.
3) LIMIT SCREEN TIME TO LESS THAN 2 HOURS PER DAY.
Increased electronics and internet useage has everyone sitting more instead of moving more. This time limit helps you limit screen and sitting time each day.
The main theme for 2010 is similar to the one from 2005: con- sume nutrient dense foods within your calorie allotment.
Adults should self monitor their body weight, food intake and physical activity plan. If you have a worthwhile plan as an objective, you will reach your goal for optimal weight and better health.
FMI see dietaryguidelines.gov
What are SOFAS?
Everyone thinks of the word “sofa” as the couch that you sit on.
But SOFAS is actually a new acronym from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Solid Fats refers to fats that are solid at room temperature. It is not a surprise that the top sources of these include pizza, grain desserts (cookies, cake, brownies, etc), whole milk, regular cheese and fatty meats.
Added Sugars are just that - sugars that are added to foods. The top sources of these are beverages! Sodas and fruit drinks. But grain desserts, dairy desserts and candy are also top sources in the American diet.
These are exactly all of the foods that make up most of the average person’s diet. They should be mostly replaced with fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes. This will increase fiber and nutrients and lower calories, too.
Stephanie Ronco has been editing for Food and Health Communications since 2011. She graduated from Colorado College magna cum laude with distinction in Comparative Literature. She was elected a member of Phi Beta Kappa in 2008.