USDA Message for a Healthy Diet: Get Off the Sofas!

The new USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released January 31, 2011. Updated every five years, the main message of the new guidelines is to get off the SOFAS. In other words, kick the Solid Fats and Added Sugars. What are the worst food offenders?

  • Grain-based desserts (cookies, cakes, and other pastries) and dairy desserts (ice cream) are top losers in all three categories: solid fats, saturated fat, and added sugars.
  • Sodas and sugar-sweetened drinks top the added sugars list.
  • Cheese and pizza are giving us our daily dose of saturated fats.

How to Develop Healthy Eating Patterns

More than just telling us what not to eat, the new guidelines make recommendations on the kinds of foods we should eat. So what makes a healthy diet? It should include the following:

1. Abundant in vegetables and fruits.

2. Emphasizes whole grain

3. Moderate in protein (seafood, beans and peas, nuts, seeds, soy products, meat, poultry, and eggs).

4.  Limited in added sugars and may include more oils than solid fats.

5.  Low in full-fat milk and milk products.

6. Has a high unsaturated to saturated fatty acid ratio and a high dietary fiber and potassium content.

7.  Low in sodium compared to current American intake.


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