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2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans



10 of the Worst Restaurant Foods in the U.S.

By Melissa Breyer for Care2.com

What the fudge is wrong with us? As obesity, diabetes and heart disease are plaguing the country in lethal proportions, restaurants are chirpily churning out caloric combinations of sodium and saturated fat that would make Henry VIII blush. Things are getting so raucous around here that a new study found that gout, yes gout, has increased by 44 percent in the last two decades, courtesy of the obesity epidemic and related health problems (diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol).

Restaurants create and tempt the masses with flashy dishes caloric enough to feed a small family, while the USDA, earnest as a shy sister, issues dietary guidelines which pretty much fall on deaf ears. Although recommended calorie intake varies by person, the range is from 1,600 to 2,400 calories per day for adult women and 2,000 to 3,000 calories per day for adult men, depending on age and physical activity level.

As for sodium intake, another daunting piece of the puzzle, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day—or 1,500 mg if you’re age 51 or older, or if you are black, or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.

So with those nuggets in mind, how do these ten contenders for worst foods in America stack up against what is recommended for maintaining nutritional health? Let’s see….
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Huge Meta-Analysis Shows No Link Between Saturated Fat and Cardiovascular Disease

Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.

Saturated fat was recently in the news at the Institute of Food Technologists expo when experts revealed, again, that the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease is inconclusive. Both the public and professionals are now confused, since diets low in fat, particularly saturated fat, have been the mainstay of scientific consensus for more than 30 years. Saturated fat, a solid fat mainly found in animal foods, includes cheese, whole milk, butter, and fatty cuts of meat. It, together with liquid poly- and mono-unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, grains and fish, make up all naturally-occurring dietary fat.

Back in the 1970s, the American Heart Association and other authorities said to reduce all fat to 30 percent of total calories and saturated fat to 10 percent or less. The recommendation was drawn from epidemiologic studies that compared the diets among different countries, in particular, the Seven Countries Study. Those studies showed a correlation between total fat intake and rates of heart disease. That, along with the National Diet-Heart Study of the 1960s, form the basis of the message that reduction in saturated fat lowers blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease.


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5 Balanced Dinner Menus to Fill Your MyPlate Icon

With the recent announcement that the food pyramid will be replaced by the new MyPlate icon, Americans are more aware than ever that it’s time to start eating their vegetables.

While the plate icon offers a visual, user-friendly guide to help people make better food choices, some of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines, like eating more fish, beans and whole grains, are not addressed.

Before you start cooking dinners based on MyPlate, keep the size of your plate in mind and check your portion sizes. According to the Mayo Clinic, reasonable portion sizes include:

  • One serving of protein should be three to six ounces (three for women, six for men) and about the size of a deck of playing cards.
  • One serving of whole grains should be the equivalent of one slice of bread, 1/3 cup brown rice or 1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta.
  • One serving of dairy is equivalent to an 8 ounce glass of milk or 1 ounce cheese (about the size of four dice).
  • One serving of fruit and vegetables should be approximately 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw.


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Healthiest Menu Choices at Papa Murphy’s

I’m not a fast-food connoisseur by any means, but I love to indulge in the occasional slice of pizza. When I don’t have time to make my own pizza at home, one of my favorite things to do is call in an order to Papa Murphy’s and, as their slogan goes, “take and bake!” For me, the ingredients just seem fresher, and they have more topping options for a veggie-lover like me than other pizza chains do. Plus, it’s fun to cook it at home.

But, really, how healthy is the food at Papa Murphy’s? Do the meals meet our registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s healthy guidelines of having less than 500 calories and less than 500 milligrams of sodium, according to the the new daily sodium recommendations? We looked at the menu, and found the healthiest options based on that criteria. Below are the results!


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Healthiest Menu Choices at Quiznos

With a variety of subs, soups and salads, Quiznos seems like a pretty healthy place to eat at for lunch or dinner, but because sometimes things that look healthy aren’t really that good for our waistlines, we decided to take a deeper look at the menu.

Below are meals that met our registered dietitian Rebecca Scritchfield’s healthy guidelines of having less than 500 calories and less than 500 milligrams of sodium, according to the the new daily sodium recommendations. Thankfully, there are quite a few options!


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