Jul 14 2010

Graehm Gray: The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010-Part 2-SoFAS, Salt, Milk, Fiber, Whole Grains, Vegetables and Fruits

As you read in my article on The New Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) Part 1, the new guidelines offer many differences and some similarities to the 2005 DGA. There are encouragements to eat more good mono and poly unsaturated fats (e.g. fish and plant varieties) over their bad cousins-the saturated fats (meats, poultry and dairy). There is more emphasis on eating whole grain products (e.g. brown rice, whole grain breads and pastas) over the refined and processed white starches. There is a new buzz word that has emerged from these guidelines-the SoFAS-solid fats (animal fats and hydrogenated vegetable oils) and added sugars (sugars and syrups and other caloric sweeteners added to foods during processing, preparation or consumed separately), which according to the statistics, have contributed to 35% of the total calorie (energy) intake of all Americans. These SoFAS are said to be responsible for the overconsumption of saturated fats, cholesterol, and added sugars and have taken the place of the important dietary fibers and nutrients (like vitamin D, calcium, potassium and unsaturated fatty acids like omega-3s) in the diet. There is a recognition that portion control in the home and at restaurants needs to be monitored and is responsible for the overconsumption of calories. In fact, restaurants and the food industry are being encouraged to offer lower calorie, foods with lower SoFAS, portion controlled foods. Snacking, which has a relationship to portion control and long noted to be one of the causes of increased calorie intake has also been targeted-with a recommendation for children to eat more nutrient dense and less processed foods. Of course television viewing time, which has been associated with adult and childhood obesity through a variety of ways (decreasing exercise time and advertisements for unhealthy food items), is on the chopping block. There is a recommendation to not watch television while eating.  Since the new DGA 2010 is loaded with additional recommendations, I will give you the highlights in these next few columns:

  1. Salt (“sodium”): Eat less-1500mg per day! Lots of evidence that salt, a combination of sodium and chloride, is associated with the development of high blood pressure and subsequent heart disease. Recommendation: limit your sodium intake to 1500mg per day by limiting processed foods that are high in sodium like yeast breads, chicken, chicken mixed dishes, pizza, pasta and pasta dishes, cold cuts, condiments, Mexican mixed dishes, franks, bacon, ribs, cheese, grain based desserts, soups, beef and beef mixed dishes. Marination and injection of salt into poultry, port and fish are also causes of “excessive” sodium levels in foods. In 2005, the total daily sodium intake was suggested to be 2300 mg. In 2010, this has been reduced to 1500mg. This is a serious decrease!
  2. Milk: Drink and eat more low fat (or zero fat) dairy products. According to statistics (NHANES) , there is an under-consumption of milk and dairy products in U.S. children and adults.  There is apparently no relationship between milk intake and weight control, however other very important qualities of milk do exist (e.g. improves children’s bone health, inversely related to heart disease and Type 2 diabetes). Milk and other dairy products do contain saturated fats so the recommendation is for children and adolescents to consume low or zero fat dairy products daily ( 2 cups for children ages 2-8; 3 cups for children 9 years and older). For those vegetarians, and individuals that do not consume milk or dairy products, it is very important to find alternative dietary sources of the following: protein, calcium, potassium, magnesium, Vitamin D and Vitamin A.
  3. Fiber:  Eat more!  Eating dietary fiber can protect against heart disease, obesity, type 2 diabetes,  can help digestion and is associated with good health. Fiber is underconsumed in the United States. Good sources of fiber include plant foods (fruits and vegetables), whole grain products, beans, nuts and peas.
  4. Whole Grains: Eat more! Just like fiber, Americans are not eating enough whole grain products. Consuming whole grains can protect against heart disease and type 2 diabetes and can help lower body weight. It’s not enough to eat “grains.” Make it whole grain!!
  5.  Vegetables and Fruits: Eat a minimum of five servings a day! Most of the research indicates a beneficial effect from fruits and veggies at or over the five servings per day mark. An inverse relationship with some cancers, decreased risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and decreased weight gain are just some of the benefits. Plant based foods are: lower in calorie, loaded with nutrients and antioxidants, and do not contain the dreaded SoFAS!


So lets review:

  1. Salt: Eat less-only 1500mg per day (down from 2300mg perday)
  2. Milk: drink and eat more low/zero fat dairy
  3. Fiber: eat more
  4. Whole grains: eat more
  5. Vegetables and Fruits: eat no less than five servings a day
  6. SoFAS: eat  less of the solid (saturated) fats and use and consume less added sugars
  7. Plant foods-eat much more
  8. Portion Control-Avoid the temptation to eat more outside of the home; eat less calories
  9. Snacking-eat more nutrient dense and less processed foods
  10. Television-don’t watch while eating!
  11. Fats: eat more monos and polys and much less saturated fats

 This has been part two of our ongoing evaluation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. So far, its an obvious conclusion-cut way down on the bad fats, added sugars, refined starches, salt and TV.  Add more plant based foods, fish and whole grains.  And decrease the portion sizes!!! It all comes down to simple questions-do you want to get and stay healthy? Do you want your children to be healthy and grow up to be healthy adults? Can you do it-Yes We Can!!!

My friend’s, stay fit and healthy The New Nerdel Way!





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