Michael Pollan had his 64 rules for eating healthy and in recent weeks, 13 scientists who were appointed to an advisory committee released their new “food rules”. This early release of “rules” is not yet the final dietary guidelines for Americans, so now is our chance to have some influence by providing our feedback. Final dietary guidelines will become available at the end of 2010, so make sure to give your 2 cents in our comments section and we will work to roll these up and help steer our country to a healthier place.
1. Eat fewer calories. The average person needs to consume roughly 2,000 calories per day. Most don’t know what they should consume for their individual height and weight, let alone how much they are actually eating. To find out what your daily calorie consumption should be, visit: DIR Health Calculator.
2. Get more food from plants. More and more, we continue to hear that eating more plants and less animals is healthier for us. In the new report, emphasis is on eating more vegetables, beans, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds.
3. Increase fish intake. Fish is full of heart-healthy omega-3 fats and is recommended to be eaten 2 times per week, which is an increase from previous recommendations. Please ensure when eating fish to steer clear of those that are high in mercury and/or are on the endangered list. We want to keep our oceans full and healthy.
4. Switch to low-fat dairy. To help limit your intake of saturated fat, choose low- or nonfat dairy. New research suggested that not only is low-fat dairy better for us, but it may also help lower blood pressure. Now that makes grabbing a glass of milk a good idea.
5. Eat moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs. In the past, the recommendation when it came to protein sources (meat, poultry, eggs) was to make choices that were lean or lower in fat. In the new rules, a shift has been made to now recommend that we moderate our intake of meat, period. I can see the lobbyists already getting ready for battle on this one.
6. Reduce intake of added sugars and solid fats. It’s no surprise that foods containing high amounts of sugar and fat are recommended to be decreased. With little more than calories added to our bodies, these are certainly areas we want to limit.
7. Reduce sodium and refined grains. Sodium is a topic that continues to be in the press as companies roll-out low sodium versions of their products. Sodium is certainly something to monitor in your diet as it does not register well in the body. Additionally, their advice is to lower the consumption of refined grains (white breads, pasta, etc.) and focus more on whole grains like rice and quinoa.
8. Exercise! Yep, the rules are changing and in addition to the food recommendations we are now seeing recommended activity come into play. The recommendation for adult Americans is to perform 2 1/2 hours a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, or slightly less if the activity is more rigorous. In addition to activity, there are also recommendations for strength training, with a focus on building muscle, which we all know helps burn more fat.
What do you think of these new “rules”? Do you agree or disagree with any? Share your comments below and let’s start a discussion.