The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting the amounts of added sugar, sodium and saturated fats that you eat. The guidelines state that the majority of Americans follow a diet that is too high in these components.
The latest Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 10 percent of your calories per day from added sugars. Choose foods and beverages with no added sugar whenever possible. Other ideas to reduce sugar include:
- Read food labels and avoid buying foods with added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, brown rice syrup, honey, agave or maple syrup.
- Drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk and 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice instead of sugary beverages.
- Choose snacks with no added sugar. For example, eat plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt with whole fruits such as berries or pears.
- Grill fruits such as pineapple or peaches for a naturally sweet and healthier dessert.
- Eat smaller dessert portions. Often a bite or two will satisfy your sweet tooth.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Most sodium consumed in the United States comes from salts added during commercial food processing and preparation, because sodium is found in so many foods, careful choices are needed to reduce your sodium intake.
Sodium reduction can include:
- Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare sodium content of foods and choose products with less sodium.
- Buy frozen or canned products without added salt.
- Buy fresh poultry, seafood, pork and lean meat rather than processed meat and poultry.
- Cook meals from scratch to control the sodium content of dishes.
- Buy fewer jarred sauces and pre-flavored products.
- Flavor foods with citrus, herbs and spices instead of salt.
Today’s Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of calories per day. It's important to understand the different types of fats, and reduce your intake of saturated fats by replacing them with unsaturated fats.
Reduce saturated fats with these tips:
- Saturated fat is found in foods such as meats, whole milk, cream, butter and cheese. Unsaturated fat, which includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, is found in foods like oils, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.
- Drink fat-free or low-fat milk (1-percent) instead of 2-percent or whole milk, and eat low-fat cheese instead of regular cheese, oils instead of butter and lean rather than fatty cuts of meat.
Emily Lambright is a registered nurse and owner of Embrace Your Health Home Services in the Coldwater/Hillsdale area specializing in diabetes management home care. The business also provides care to those that want to continue residing in their home but need some additional services and assistance, health coaching and lifestyles management for chronic conditions and heart disease. For more information, call 517-439-4119.