New guidelines say for less salt

Linda Benedict, Blanchard, Tobie M.  |  2/25/2011 1:55:43 AM

The 2010 Dietary Guidelines, released in January 2011 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services, are the first to address the U.S. problem of too many overweight or obese adults, according to LSU AgCenter nutritionist Beth Reames.

The goal of the new guidelines is to help people maintain a calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight. The guidelines also steer people away from food containing high amounts of saturated fats, sodium and refined grains.

A significant change in the guidelines is a reduction in salt intake for half the population – including African-Americans, people 50 or older, and those with diabetes, hypertension or chronic kidney disease. This population should consume no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium – a little more than a half teaspoon a day.

For those not included in the restricted groups, the guidelines continue to advocate only 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. Americans typically consume twice that amount, Reames said.

She said the best way to not exceed sodium recommendations is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables and limit foods with hidden sodium such as breads, pasta and processed foods.

“The old guidelines gave vague suggestions to eat more fruits and vegetables. The new guidelines urge people to make half their plates fruits and vegetables,” she said.

Tobie Blanchard

(This article was published in the winter 2011 issue of Louisiana Agriculture Magazine.)

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