According to a recent set of guidelines released by Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, Americans should eat more fruits and vegetables, while cutting the salt and fat in their diets. Studies suggest that two-thirds of all United States Adults are either obese or overweight — over one-third of children are obese or overweight. Clearly, Americans need to lose weight.
The guidelines are targeted to nutrition education programs, senior Meals on Wheels programs and school meals in an effort to assist with weight loss not only in New Jersey, but across the United States. Nurses and doctors can also use these guidelines for patient advice.
The guidelines include six sections for specific groups of people, such as pregnant women and 23 important recommendations for general consumers. In order to lose weight, general advice in the guidelines includes exercise, calorie reduction and avoiding super-sized portions of food.
In an effort to reduce obesity and help people with weight loss, specific recommendations were included in the guidelines. These include eating less food, filling half your plate with vegetables and fruit, choosing fat-free or low-fat milk, replacing sugary drinks with water, reducing sodium in foods by comparing products.
Salt intake is addressed in these guidelines, recommending people eat less than 1,500 mg per day. Sodium is included and many products these days and consumers need to be aware of the amount of sodium they are ingesting by looking at food labels. The guidelines also promote vegetarian diets. Although the guidelines advise people to reduce their intake of saturated fats and cholesterol, one caveat of the guidelines is that they fail to recommend that people stay away from foods containing these components.