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Press Release

American Dietetic Association Offers Consumers Help in Applying 2010 Dietary Guidelines to Everyday Eating

2011-01-31

Media Contacts: Ryan O'Malley, Allison MacMunn
800/877-1600, ext. 4769, 4802 media@eatright.org

CHICAGO – The newly released 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offer a practical roadmap to help people make changes in their eating plans to improve their health, according to the American Dietetic Association.

"Research including ADA's Nutrition and You consumer surveys shows one of the main reasons people don't do all they can to eat healthier is that they don't want to give up foods they enjoy," says registered dietitian and American Dietetic Association Spokesperson Bethany Thayer.

"Making changes to your eating plan to follow the recommendations of the new Dietary Guidelines can be done in ways that still let you eat your favorite foods. The American Dietetic Association has long advocated for a 'total diet' weight management approach that places a greater emphasis on the overall pattern of foods you eat and relies less on strategies like only counting calories," Thayer says.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend shifts in food consumption patterns, encouraging people to eat more of some foods and nutrients and less of others. The Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to eat more:

  • Whole grains
  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages
  • Vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean.
  • Seafood

And the 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend eating less:

  • Added sugars
  • Solid fats, including trans fats
  • Refined grains
  • Sodium

"More than one-third of all calories consumed by Americans are solid fats and added sugars," Thayer says. "ADA encourages people to replace as many of these calories as possible with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese."

Recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines on consumption of sodium and fats are of particular concern because of their links to serious health conditions such as heart disease and hypertension.

Sodium

The Dietary Guidelines maintain their previous recommendation of no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium — about 1 teaspoon of salt — for most people, but now recommend reducing daily consumption of sodium to 1,500 milligrams — about ⅔ of a teaspoon of salt — for people over age 51, African-Americans and those with a history of high blood pressure, kidney problems or diabetes.

"This reduction in sodium will require a gradual approach to changing consumers' dietary choices along with reformulation of food products. This will mean investing in consumer messages and education about eating plans that help consumers meet their overall nutrition needs while reducing their sodium intake," Thayer says.

"There are many ways people can meet the recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines, such as reducing their sodium intake," Thayer says. High levels of salt in the diet are associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, particularly among certain vulnerable groups and individuals.

Thayer's suggestions include:

  • Prepare food using little salt or fewer high-sodium ingredients. For example, skip using salt in cooking pasta, rice, cereals and vegetables.
  • Taste food before salting it. Lightly salt food only as needed, not as a habit.
  • Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, which are naturally low in sodium.
  • Use herbs, spice rubs and fruit juices in cooking in place of salt.
  • Check food labels comparing like items and choose lower sodium foods. Also watch for terms like "low sodium," "sodium-free" and "no added salt."
  • Eat fresh, lean meats, poultry, fish, dry and fresh beans and peas, unsalted nuts and eggs, all of which contain less sodium.

Fat

The Dietary Guidelines recommend people consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

"ADA supports the Dietary Guidelines' focus on the types of fat people consume, instead of the overall amount in a person's diet," Thayer says.

"For optimal health, most people should reduce their consumption of solid fats, which are high in trans fats and saturated fats and low in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Solid fats are found in fatty animal-based foods such as well-marbled meat, poultry skin, bacon, sausage, butter and whole milk products or foods made with vegetable oils that have been partially hydrogenated, such as cookies, donuts, pastries and crackers.

"In place of solid fats, most fats in the diet should be polyunsaturated or monounsaturated, such as liquid vegetable oils like canola, olive, peanut and soybean and high-fat plant-based foods like nuts, seeds, olives and avocados," Thayer says.

Eating plans should also include foods containing omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, Thayer says. Omega-3s are found in seafood, especially cold-water fish like Atlantic or Pacific mackerel, albacore tuna, salmon, sardines and lake trout. The new Guidelines encourage Americans to consume at least 8 ounces of seafood each week.

Dietary Guidelines and ADA

The 2011 National Nutrition Month® theme "Eat Right with Color" was selected to closely align with the launch of the DGA consumer messaging campaign. ADA will create consumer brochures and online resources that incorporate Dietary Guidelines messages in ADA's National Nutrition Month theme and messages.

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines will be incorporated into the 4th edition of ADA's Complete Food and Nutrition Guide, scheduled for release in the fall. And ADA is developing a consumer book titled What to Eat Now that is scheduled for publication in the spring.

"ADA encourages all consumers to consult with a registered dietitian for help in interpreting and applying the Dietary Guidelines to their daily life," Thayer says. Find a registered dietitian in your area.