What Are Some General Guidelines For Healthy Eating?
- Over the past two decades, in response to the need for healthier diets, a variety of public and private health organizations ana- lyzed the research relating diet to health and developed some basic guidelines for the general public.
- The details underlying these recommendations may be found in several voluminous govern- mental reports, most recently the totally revamped eighth edition of Nutrition and Your Health: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services in 2015 and Healthy People 2020.
- These reports serve as the basis for dietary guidelines in ChooseMyPlate. Additionally, governmental health agencies in other countries, such as Britain, Canada, Germany, Japan, and Mexico, have developed dietary guidelines for health promotion in their countries, as has the WHO on a global basis. Several health organizations have promoted diets to help prevent specific diseases.
- The American Heart Association released a set of dietary guidelines to help pre-vent heart disease, the American Cancer Society released a similar set to help prevent cancer, and the American Diabetes Association did likewise for prevention of diabetes.
- In its recent position state- ment, headed by Freeland-Graves, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics supported the position that the total diet or overall pat- tern of food eaten is the most important focus of healthy eating. Classification of specific foods as good or bad is overly simplistic and can foster unhealthy eating behaviors.
- The Academy noted that all foods can fit within the total diet approach if consumed in moderation with appropriate portion size and combined with physical activity. Healthy eating messages should emphasize a balance of food and beverages within energy needs, rather than any one food or meal.
Each specific dietary recommendation may convey some health benefit, so the more of these dietary guidelines you adopt, the greater should be your overall health benefits.
Here are the 12 General Guidelines For Healthy Eating
- Balance the food you eat with physical activity to maintain or improve your body weight. Consume only moderate food portions. Be physically active every day.
- Eat a nutritionally adequate diet consisting of a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods. Eat more whole foods in their natural form. Eat fewer highly processed foods.
- Eat a diet rich in plant foods. Choose plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products, and legumes, which are rich in healthy carbohydrates, phytochemical, and fiber.
- Choose a diet moderate in total fat but low in saturated and trans fat and cholesterol.
- Choose beverages and foods that moderate or reduce your intake of sugars, particularly added sugars.
- Choose and prepare foods with less salt and sodium.
- Maintain protein intake at a moderate yet adequate level, obtaining much of your daily protein from plant sources, complemented with smaller amounts of fish, skinless poultry and lean meat.
- Choose a diet adequate in calcium and iron.
- Practice food safety, including proper food storage, preservation, and preparation.
- Consider the possible benefits and risks of food additives and dietary supplements.
- If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Pregnant women should not drink any alcohol.
- Enjoy your food. Eat what you like, but balance it within your overall healthful diet.
General Guidelines For Healthy Eating To Lose Weight
- Reduce the number of calories you eat daily. Eat smaller portions—don’t “upsize” your meals at fast food restaurants.
- Follow the dietary guidelines above.
- Eliminate all sugar-added drinks from your diet. You can drink 100% fruit juice, unsweetened, but limit servings to one or two a day. Drink more water.
- Decrease the amount of time spent in sedentary activities, especially watching television. Use your screen-free time working on hobbies, house cleaning, yard work, or engaging in fun activities.
- Get moderate physical activity (such as walking, bicycling, swimming, or using aerobic exercise machines) for 30 to 60 minutes a day, at least five days a week.
- Do muscle strengthening and toning exercises at least 2 or 3 days a week.
General Guidelines For Healthy Eating to Build Healthy Eating Habits
- Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables (3 or more servings a day).
- Eat a variety of fruits (2 or more servings a day).
- Eat whole-grain, high-fiber breads and cereals (3 to 6 servings a day). Reduce or eliminate refined or processed carbohydrates; most of the grains in your diet should be whole grains.
- Drink fat-free or low-fat milk and eat low-fat dairy products.
- Choose from a variety of low-fat sources of protein — including eggs, beans, poultry without skin, seafood, lean meats, unsalted nuts, seeds, and soy products. If you eat meat, eat white meat at least four times more often than red meat.
- Reduce intake of saturated fats and trans-fats (such as partially hydrogenated oil) as much as possible.
- Use vegetable oils (like olive or canola oil) instead of solid fats.
- Reduce daily intake of salt or sodium. Reduce to less than 1,500 mg. per day if you are older than 50, or have hypertension, diabetes or chronic kidney disease.
- Restrict or eliminate “junk food” — foods that contain refined white flour, solid fats or trans fats, added sugars, and are high in sodium.
- Restrict or eliminate sodas and other sugar-added drinks that are high in calories and contain few or no nutrients.
If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation. Drink only when it doesn’t put you or anyone else at risk.
The above contain today’s best scientific advice on selection of foods for promoting health, preventing disease and maintaining or losing weight. These are general guidelines that apply to most healthy people. If you have a chronic disease or other special nutritional needs, contact a registered dietitian for specific recommendations.
The following Websites present detailed information on healthy dietary guidelines:
- www.dietaryguidelines.gov :The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 focus on the total diet and how to integrate all of the recommendations into practical terms, encouraging personal choice but result in an eating pattern that is nutrient dense and Calorie balanced.
- www.ChooseMyPlate.gov ChooseMyPlate offers personalized eating plans and interactive tools to help you plan your food choices based on Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Click on SuperTracker, a series of applications including Daily Food Plans for planning a healthy diet.