LSU AgCenter Nutrition Expert Outlines Nine Key Ingredients In New Dietary Guidelines

Catrinel Stanciu  |  4/29/2005 9:27:30 PM

News You Can Use For May 2005

The new Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are revised every five years, include exercise for the first time as part of a healthy lifestyle. LSU AgCenter food and nutrition expert Catrinel Stanciu says the guidelines emphasize nine key areas.

The nine areas are adequate nutrients within calorie needs, weight management, physical activity, food groups to encourage, fats, carbohydrates, sodium and potassium, alcoholic beverages and food safety.

• Adequate nutrients within calorie needs. Consume a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages (these are foods low in calories and high in nutrients, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and 100 percent fruit or vegetable juice). Limit the intake of saturated fat and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugar, salt and alcohol. Eat a balanced diet, as recommended by the Food Guide or the DASH eating plan.

• Weight management. Maintain a healthy body weight. To prevent weight gain, make small decreases in food and beverages calories and increase physical activity.

• Physical activity. Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities. Adults who want to reduce the risk of chronic diseases, include at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week. Adults who want to help manage body weight and prevent weight gain, include 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week. Adults who want to sustain weight loss, include 60 to 90 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity daily.

Children should have 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

"You can achieve physical fitness with cardiovascular conditioning and stretching and resistance exercises," Stanciu says.

• Food groups to encourage. For a 2,000 calorie diet you need 2 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of vegetables daily. Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables (dark green, orange, legumes, starchy vegetables, and other vegetables).

Consume three or more 1-ounce equivalents of whole-grain products daily (at least half of your grains should be whole grains). One slice of bread, 1/2 cup cooked pasta or rice or 1 cup ready-to-eat cereal counts as a 1 ounce-equivalent.

Drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or milk products every day.

• Fats. Total daily fat intake should be between 20 percent and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from unsaturated sources (fish, nuts, vegetable oils). Less than 10 percent of calories should come from saturated fats (butter, shortening, baked products, meats). When selecting meat, poultry, dry beans and milk products, choose lean, low-fat or fat-free items. Consume less than 300 mg cholesterol a day.

• Carbohydrates. Choose fiber-rich fruits and vegetables and whole grains. Choose and prepare foods with little added sugar or caloric sweeteners. Practice good oral hygiene, and consume foods high in sugar less frequently, to prevent dental caries.

• Sodium and potassium. Consume less than 2,300 mg of sodium per day (about 1 teaspoon of salt). Prepare foods with little salt. Consume potassium-rich foods (fruits and vegetables).

• Alcoholic beverages. For those who choose to consume alcohol, do so in moderation (one drink per day for women and two drinks for men).

Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed by certain individuals: those who cannot restrict their caloric intake, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, pregnant or lactating women, children and adolescents, individuals taking medications that may interact with alcohol, those with specific medical conditions.

Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed when driving or operating machinery or when engaging in any other activities that require attention, skills and coordination.

• Food safety. Clean hands, contact surfaces, fruits and vegetables. Separate raw, cooked and ready-to-eat foods. Cook foods at a safe temperature. Chill (refrigerate) perishable foods and defrost foods properly.

For information on related family and consumer topics, visit the FCS Web site at
Extension/Departments/fcs/. For local information and educational programs, contact an extension agent in your parish LSU AgCenter office.


On the Internet: LSU AgCenter:
Source: Catrinel Stanciu (225) 578-6924, or

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