What You Need to Know about the New FDA Guidelines for Food

feb 4Just a few months ago, a new report came out saying red meat can cause cancer. Now, in the Food and Drug Administration’s(FDA) newest guidelines, updated every five years, has said red meat is actually okay. It can be hard to keep up with constantly evolving science regarding our foods. Here’s what you need to know about the FDA’s new guidelines.

The USDA Dietary Guidelines Key Recommendations:

Limit calories from added sugars to less than 10 percent of calories.

The FDA recommends no more than 10% of your daily calories come from sugar. While naturally occurring sugars such as those found in fruit is not a major concern, we need to be mindful of the other sugars found in our foods that you might not even realize are there (Sugar no, meat… maybe?). People know there is sugar in cakes and cookies, but most people don’t realize how much sugar they’re consuming through juices and even savory dishes such as the pasta sauce on your spaghetti or some salad dressings. With that in mind, make sure you’re reading nutrition labels.

Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.

This is one rule that never changes. Eat your fruit and vegetables. When it comes to the vegetables, make sure you have a variety of color on your plate such as pairing a side salad with roasted carrots. (A tip from 9HealthReady nutrition expert, Caitlin Dow Ph.D.: think of fruits and vegetables as the foundation of each meal!)

Eat less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fats.

Saturated fat can come from meat, poultry and dairy. Saturated fat raises your cholesterol, which can increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes. Try going meat-free on Mondays and eating more fish, especially salmon which is high in Omega-3 fatty acids (the good kind of fat).

Reduce intake of sodium – 2,300 mg per day.

For many, the majority of sodium we eat every day comes from processed foods and eating out. Too much can increase your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease and stroke – which kills more Americans each year than any other cause. To cut back, make your meals ahead. You might also find it gives you more energy to get through the day. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Choose whole grains for at least half of the total grains consumed.

When it comes to bread, choose whole grains over everything else. Grains are a vital source of nutrients such as fiber, B vitamins and minerals. Try adding flaxseed and oatmeal to your diet (Health Benefits of Grains).

A Couple More Notable Changes

Males – Cut Back on the Meat

Most men are probably not going to want to hear this one, but according to the FDA, the majority of them are actually taking in too much protein (New Dietary Guidelines Urge Less Sugar for All and Less Meat for Boys and Men). Instead, why not swap out some bacon for a banana & peanut butter smoothie and instead of steak have some salmon.

Eat Eggs

That’s right. The FDA has loosened the restriction on the amount of cholesterol you take in. So go ahead and have some eggs. Just keep in mind, if you already have high cholesterol, you should probably still cut back on those foods with high amounts of it.

Who These Guidelines Impact

As individuals, it’s up to us to decide whether or not to follow the guidelines, so you might be wondering why anyone cares so much. However, these guidelines do affect a majority of Americans, particularly children. These guidelines will help determine the lunches offered in our schools as well other federal nutrition programs (Making Sense of Latest US Dietary Guidelines).

You can read the entire guideline report here.

Maybe now is a good time to reevaluate your diet? If so, there are a lot of great resources out there. The U.S.News and World Report has some great tips for finding a diet that will work for you and your needs.