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 SparkPeople.com 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: