2010 Dietary Guidelines – Continuing to Move Forward

By , SparkPeople Blogger

Last summer I reviewed the 2010 Dietary Guideline Report that set the stage for the newly released Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 by the USDA.

While there are no major changes in recommendations, there are plenty of reinforcements to spark your commitment to healthier living.

The new twist in this update of the guidelines includes a focus on what you are encouraged to include in your healthy eating plan instead of what you should limit or avoid. However, the main points have not changed.

Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight
Americans are encouraged to achieve and maintain a healthy weight through improved eating and physical activity behaviors throughout all stages of life. Suggestions on how to accomplish this include:

Select eating patterns that focus on nutrient-dense foods and beverages
With a daily focus on nutrient wise choices, Americans can easily meet all recommended nutrients identified for health while limiting nutrients that have been found to limit health and wellness. Several encouraged eating plans include DASH, Mediterranean, or Vegetarian styles of meal selection. These along with basic healthy eating guidelines can help you meet these key nutrient goals :
  • Sodium – Reducing sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg for individuals aged 2-50 is recommended. Fifteen hundred milligrams or less is recommended for those older than 51 or those who are African American or who have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease.
  • Saturated fat – Continue to aim for less than 10 percent of total daily fat intake in favor of other options with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Also keep trans fat intake as low as possible.
  • Cholesterol – Continue to aim for 300 mg per day or less.
  • Fiber – Continue to include 14 grams per 1,000 calories.
  • Potassium – Include at least 4,700 mg per day to assist with blood pressure control.
Special Considerations
There are some additional recommendations for specific populations. Women of childbearing age are encouraged to select foods that are high in heme iron as well as the vitamin C rich foods that help absorb them. They should also consume no less than 400 micrograms of synthetic folic acid in addition to a folate rich diet. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding are encouraged to include 8 to 12 ounces of low mercury fish for the beneficial brain boosting DHA. For seasoned individuals over the age of 50, should be sure to include foods rich in vitamin B12 such as eggs, low fat dairy and lean meat.

Call to Action
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines also includes a specific call to action to develop "coordinated partnerships, programs, and policies to support healthy eating and active living." The action implementation will likely come from three guiding principles:
  • Ensure all Americans have access to nutritious foods and opportunities for physical activity.
  • Facilitate individual behavior change through environmental strategies.
  • Set the stage for lifelong healthy eating, physical activity, and weight management behaviors.
The Bottom Line
When we make nutrient-rich food and snack choices and balance them with a physically active lifestyle, we can maintain a healthy weight and reduce our risk of disease in favor of improved overall health. This is the basic goal of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines. These goals are for all Americans ages 2 years and older. These summarized goals are the basis of most legitimate weight-loss plans and contradict many highly marketed fad diets. Over the next few months I will try to highlight different aspects of the guidelines to help you make 2010 the year that you give up fad diets forever in favor of healthy eating principles outlined by the Guidelines and lived by many Americans across the nation.

Are you living the Guidelines for Americans? What part of these guidelines is causing you to struggle? What aspect of them would you like us to address further?

Click here to to redeem your SparkPoints
  You will earn 5 SparkPoints


I REALLY wish Spark People would let you add to the Nutrition Tracker the supplements and vitamins you take daily and calculate that into your nutrition report.... Report
What do you do if your boy doesn't like to drink milk? Will having it with his cereal some days be enough? Report
I am trying to do all of this. But I have a hard time getting all of my carbs in. And I have an even harder time not going over on sodium. I never realized that even vegs. have sodium. Report
I worried about reaching all the levels but after talking with my primary care dr and he told me to eat healthy, protein, veggies, fruits, grains and things will be fine.. Report
I find it impossible to consistently meet the potassium requirement without taking a supplement. It would be good to find some information on whether this recommended requirement is for everyone regardless of height, weight, and age or just a general recommendation for those on a 2000+ calorie diet. Report
Will Spark be letting us adjust our sodium range to match the 1500 milligrams or less recommended for age 51 or who are African American or who have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. Right now it only allows 2300. This would really help me become aware of my sodium count each day. Report
awesome! Report
COOL Report
I try to follow the food guidelines as much as I can. I even weigh all the food that I eat to make sure that I am getting the right quantities and calories. I tend to fall short when in doubt, which is not always better. Report
The potassium level is hard to reach, especially since so many foods don't list potassium levels on them! I really would like more in depth nutrition labels! Report
I think that 100% (real) fruit juices have gotten a bum wrap. While they may lack the fiber that eating an orange provides, I don't see anything wrong with having a small glass of orange juice, apple juice, etc... unless a person has to watch their blood sugar, I do feel that juices are a much healthier option than something like diet soda or those dreadful energy drinks. if folks are worried about the calories or the sugar, they can always cut the juice with some water.

In general, I'm pretty healthy according to the guidelines. I'm not a perfect eater. I don't have to be one to be healthy. Report
@Zorbs13 -- 100% juices, at least some of them, have vitamins and minerals that soda lacks. The classic example is orange juice, which supplies Vit C and potassium. I agree with you, though, I'd rather eat a serving of fruit than drink juice.

KittyKayVegan has a good point about heme and non-heme iron. I know there a supplements that provide non-heme iron, but it would be very helpful to see some nutrition articles written for vegans, with recs for quality non-heme iron sources (where the iron absorption may not be affected by phytates and oxalates) and the quantities needed to avoid anemia and other health issues.

And I also have trouble reaching the amount of potassium recommended, an issue not helped by the failure by manufacturers to provide the product's potassium levels on the labels.

And, finally, has anyone ever defined just exactly how big a "medium" fruit is? Report
I second the difficulty in reaching the potassium level. I don't think I've ever been able to despite eating the recommended foods. Report
I have a hard time finding things that I like that are high in protein without also being overly high in fat and sodium. Report
I have a really hard time with sodium intake. I would love it if the spark would address sodium and water-weight issues in its nutrition articles. Report
I see the grocery chains are beginning to offer more variety of choices (such as kefir, whole grain foods, organic/local produce, etc.). When will restaurants catch up and begin offering choices more in line with our current dietary guidelines? Report
I find it funny that 100% fruit juices are considered a better choice than pop.

Juice is liquid sugar and no one in this house consumes it. Report
LOL. The physical activity suggestions sound kind of low. I mean, heck, I often engage in vigorous exercise an hour or two a DAY. If I dropped that to once a week, I'd gain the weight back so fast it would make my head spin. Report
What can i eat that is righ in folic acid for women that want to fall pregnant? Report
I find it a bit contradictory that they encourage vegetarian diets and consumption of legumes and pulses over meats, yet tell women that they need to be consistently consuming heme iron. This makes no sense. Report
I have yet to find a way to reach my potassium level on a regular basis, even though I take a supplement and eat potassium rich foods! What can I do? Report