Nutrition Articles

USDA and SparkPeople Agree: Calories Count!

SparkPeople Welcomes the New Dietary Guidelines

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Guidelines Recommend: Balance calories from foods and beverages with calories expended.
SparkPeople In Action: Track your calories eaten and calories burned with simple lookup tools and tracking information.

Guidelines Recommend: A variety of fruits and vegetables, whole-grain products and fat-free dairy products.
SparkPeople In Action: Meal plans geared to your specific calorie needs provide variety and the nutrients you need. Articles, comparison charts and healthy recipes point you in the right direction for creating a healthy menu.

Guidelines Recommend: A total fat intake of 20-35% of total calories.
SparkPeople In Action: Instant reports and nutritional totals give you real-time information about your current fat levels.

Guidelines Recommend: Consume less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) of sodium per day.
SparkPeople In Action: Track any nutrient you can think of, simply by selecting what you eat using the searchable 10,000-food database. No guesswork here.

Guidelines Recommend: To prevent weight gain, engage in 60 minutes of activity on most days of the week.
SparkPeople In Action: Track cardio minutes and other fitness while knowing exactly how many calories you’ve burned.

Guidelines Recommend: Include cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises for flexibility, and resistance exercises or calisthenics for muscle strength and endurance.
SparkPeople In Action: Choose from dozens of cardio and strength exercises and stretching options to build a customized fitness plan, and use animated demonstrations to learn how to do them safely and effectively.

Click here to read all of the recommendations within the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.

The Dietary Guidelines report is interested in helping Americans with weight control, stronger muscles and bones, and chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. According to HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson, "Promoting good dietary habits is key to reducing the growing problems of obesity and physical inactivity, and to gaining the health benefits that come from a nutritionally balanced diet."

SparkPeople couldn’t agree more.

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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
  • DONNAJAMES289
    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!
    ~tammie
    - 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
  • JGSLIMMER
    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