Nutrition Articles

USDA and SparkPeople Agree: Calories Count!

SparkPeople Welcomes the New Dietary Guidelines

Page 1 of 2

Bet you never thought you’d see the day when the federal government was the hallmark of clarity and common sense. But it just happened.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA) just released the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005. The common sense findings of the Guidelines (and SparkPeople wholeheartedly agrees) place emphasis right where it belongs – on calories. In the mad, mad, mad, mad world of weight loss, it’s a breath of fresh air.

Nobody does more research to get to the truth of nutrition and healthy living than HHS. Nobody. No other research organization dedicates as many man-hours and resources solely to learn which nutritional tactics really work and which are better suited for the fiction aisle. And even for these research masterminds, the Guidelines were a challenge. According to Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman, "The process we used to develop these recommendations was more rigorous and more transparent than ever before."

So when the scientific method and common sense fuse together in the laboratory, it’s a good reason to sit up and take notice. Here’s what their research found and what is actually kind of exciting: Balancing nutrients is not enough for health. Calories also count.

In fact, the Guidelines place even more emphasis on reducing calories than before.

This is no surprise to SparkPeople members. They’ve seen this in action for years. To lose weight and stay healthy, cut calories and increase physical activity. It’s that simple. It’s just nice to see this truth backed up by hundreds of women and men in white coats. And it’s exciting to know that weight loss can be as simple as "calories in" vs. "calories out" without gimmicks, pastes or starvation pills.

Still, the Guidelines are incomplete.

Guidelines are nice. But giving someone guidelines without a plan and the right tools is like warning drivers not to speed while taking away their speedometers. You know what you’re supposed to do – how do you know if you’re doing it right?

That’s where does something the Guidelines cannot: give you tools and resources to know if you’re on track for a healthy lifestyle. SparkPeople’s tracking, planning and motivation tools supply the answer to the burning question of "How do I apply this to my day-to-day life?"

Here are some examples of how you can use SparkPeople to follow the new USDA Guidelines without confusion or uncertainty:
Continued ›

Page 1 of 2   Next Page ›
Got a story idea? Give us a shout!

About The Author

Mike Kramer Mike Kramer
As a writer and artist, Mike has witnessed countless motivational stories and techniques. See all of Mike's articles.

Member Comments

  • This has also rolled out for public school, thus you will see more emphasis on fruits and veggies (choices & portion sizes) and lower sodium contents. Salt is being phased out of schools to be totally gone in five years! YEA for the new guidelines! - 9/5/2011 6:07:19 AM
  • I liked the comment about the disconnect between being given guidelines for what we need without a map - "being told not to speed while taking away our speedometers."
    Another person gave me similar advice about binges: "When you are stopped and given a speeding ticket, you don't usually tear off speeding again - you drive more carefully and watch the speed limit." The same way, if we find ourselves eating "off plan" that can serve as a reminder to stop, slow down, and be more aware and careful.
    Thanks for a useful article. - 9/7/2010 11:28:27 AM
  • Sparkpeople makes it easier to follow the guidelines when the trackers do all the calculating for me. That's why whenever I find myself hitting a plateau, I go back to daily tracking. - 1/14/2010 9:18:39 PM
  • good article makes good sense conserve what you eat, eat healthy loose weight. - 1/14/2010 10:17:51 AM
  • What a great article! Calories in calories out...however I do want the BEST calories in! SparkPeople let's us know the Best Calories in. Thank you SparkPeople! - 3/15/2009 9:27:47 PM
  • Reading this really clarified the fat/carb/protein concepts for me. Good article! - 9/7/2008 10:24:36 PM
    Very interesting concept...Donna - 9/2/2008 6:40:18 AM
  • Great article. - 7/21/2008 1:00:17 AM
  • this makes so much sense and the analogy about the "speeding, but no spedometer" is exactly how i was - i really had no idea what was good for me calorie-wise, fat-wise, carbs, etc. - until sparkpeople put into perspective and gave me a resource to keep track of everything. i KNOW that i wouldn't be able to keep it sorted out on my own, but have had great sucess since i started here. thank you!
    - 6/24/2008 10:32:27 AM
  • CAT11021958
    Wonderful and excellent article. Thank you. - 4/15/2008 1:18:05 PM
  • This is a very informative article thank you, I agree that SP is doing what is right. - 2/9/2008 8:58:15 PM
    Thanks for this article, I see calories counting may be important for some to lead a healthy lifestyle. - 1/31/2008 12:22:14 PM

  • Reading and practicing those simple rules, really made a big diference in my lifestyle and health. Congratulations for the great job you are been doing! - 1/5/2008 12:17:48 PM

x Lose 10 Pounds by July 10! Sign up with Email Sign up with Facebook
By clicking one of the above buttons, you're indicating that you have read and agree to SparkPeople's Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy and that you're at least 18 years of age.