Yesterday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services released the seventh edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, designed to give Americans a sense of what their diets need, based on the latest research.
While the guidelines remain somewhat unchanged, there are two key points that deserve a closer look.
SODIUM: The current recommendation for sodium is 2,300 milligrams, but the advisory committee recommends reducing that number to 1,500 mg, a number currently used for people on low-sodium diets. So, how much is 1,500 mg? That’s 1 teaspoon of salt, and that includes added salt and salt in prepared and processed foods.
SEAFOOD: While limits were placed on everything from fat to calories, the dietary guidelines increased the amount of seafood that should be consumed each day. Studies have shown that eating 8 – 12 ounces of seafood each week reduces the risk of heart disease, whether people have heart disease or not. Additionally, it’s recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding consume at least 8 and up to 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week. This, to encourage healthy brain and eye development of the fetus.
The new edition of the dietary guidelines also sets the following daily limits or targets:
- Fat intake: 20% to 35% of total calories
- Saturated fat: less than 10% of total calories (mono- and polyunsaturated fats may be substituted)
- Trans-fats: less than 1% of calories
- Cholesterol: less than 300 mg
- Fiber: 14 g per 1,000 calories
- Potassium: 4,700 mg
- Sodium: less than 1,500 mg for all African Americans and those with hypertension, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease (including children), as well as persons older than 51; everyone else is advised to consume under 2,300 mg of sodium a day
- Fruits and vegetables: at least 2.5 cups
- Refined grains: less than 3 ounces
Overwhelmed? Don’t be. Just include more fruit and vegetables in your diet; eat more fish; reduce consumption of processed foods which will help slash salt intake, and enjoy whole grains, legumes and low-fat dairy. Buon appetito!