This information has been reviewed and adapted for use in South Carolina by J. G. Hunter, HGIC Information Specialist, and K. L. Cason, Professor, State EFNEP Coordinator, Clemson University. (New 09/05.)
The United States is facing an epidemic of obesity. Almost two-thirds of its citizens are overweight or obese, and more than half get too little physical activity.
Americans need to understand that daily choices in food and physical activity affect health today, tomorrow, and in the future. Eating right and being physically active are critical to a healthy lifestyle and are not just a "diet" or a "program."
The federal government’s 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the best science-based advice available for Americans over the age of two. It advises what to eat to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic diet-related disease. Three key recommendations of the Dietary Guidelines are:
All foods can fit within this framework and a healthful diet. Adopting these lifestyle changes increases the chances for a longer life and reduces the risk for chronic diet-related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis and certain cancers.
Make smart choices from every food group, and get the most nutrition out of calories consumed. Follow these nine recommendations about the types and amounts of foods to eat, as well as the level of physical activity needed.
Eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages from the basic food groups. Choose foods and beverages that are low in saturated fats and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt and alcohol. Nutrient-dense foods are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other nutrients but are lower in calories.
Meet recommended intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern, such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan. Learn more about the DASH eating plan at: www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/hbp/dash
To maintain body weight in a healthy range, balance calories from foods and beverages with calories burned.
To prevent gradual weight gain over time, make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.
Find the balance between food and physical activity. Be physically active every day to promote health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight.
A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. In addition, it includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts. Choosing foods that do little to meet nutrient needs can put good health at risk, although those foods may be within the allowed daily calorie, or energy needs.
Fruits & Vegetables: Eat a sufficient amount of fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
Two cups of fruit per day are recommended for a 2,000-calorie intake, with higher or lower amounts depending on the calorie level. For example, two cups of fruit could be a small banana, a large orange, and ¼ cup of dried apricots or peaches. Eat fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit, rather than drinking fruit juice, for most of your fruit choices.
Eat 2½ cups of vegetables daily, including more dark green vegetables. Select from all five vegetable subgroups several times a week.
Dark Green Vegetables: Broccoli, spinach, collards, turnip greens, kale, beet and mustard greens, green leaf lettuce, and romaine lettuce.
Orange Vegetables: Carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and pumpkin.
Legumes: Dry beans, such as pinto beans, kidney beans, black beans, and garbanzo beans, peas, chickpeas, and lentils.
Starchy Vegetables: Corn, white potatoes, and green peas.
Other Vegetables: Tomatoes, cabbage, celery, cucumber, lettuce, onions, peppers, green beans, cauliflower, mushrooms, and summer squash.
Whole Grain Products: Eat 6 or more one ounce-equivalents* of grains per day, with at least half of this amount being whole-grain products. Examples are 100% whole wheat, whole oats/oatmeal, brown and wild rice, popcorn, bulgur (cracked wheat), whole rye, and whole-grain barley. The word "whole" should appear in front of the grain on the ingredient list of crackers, breads and cereals.
*A 1 ounce-equivalent is: 1 slice of bread, 1 cup dry breakfast cereal, or ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal.
Milk & Milk Products: Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or an equal amount of low-fat yogurt and/or low-fat cheese. One and one-half ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk. People who cannot consume milk may choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
Children two to eight years of age should consume 2 cups per day, and children nine years of age and older should consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or equivalent milk products.
Choose fats wisely for good health. Read the Nutrition Facts label on foods, and look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats.
To avoid microbial foodborne illness:
By law the Dietary Guidelines is reviewed, updated if necessary, and published every five years by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
Note: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005 contains additional recommendation for specific populations. The full document is available at www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines. This website also contains a new consumer booklet, "Finding Your Way to a Healthier You," which is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
To reflect the updates and changes in the Dietary Guidelines, the U.S. Department of Agriculture replaced the Food Guide Pyramid with a revised consumer guidance graphic in 2005. It is available at www.mypyramid.gov.
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This information is supplied with the understanding that no discrimination is intended and no endorsement by the Clemson University Cooperative Extension Service is implied. All recommendations are for South Carolina conditions and may not apply to other areas. Use pesticides only according to the directions on the label. All recommendations for pesticide use are for South Carolina only and were legal at the time of publication, but the status of registration and use patterns are subject to change by action of state and federal regulatory agencies. Follow all directions, precautions and restrictions that are listed.