Dietary Guidelines Recommend Smart Food Choices in Your Diet
Some foods provide lots of nutrients per calorie. Some don’t. The former are called nutrient-dense foods. As you may expect, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend choosing foods from the high-nutrient foods to meet your calorie needs each day, while limiting the amount of
Foods high in saturated fat
Foods high in trans fats
Foods high in cholesterol
Foods with added sugar
Foods with added salt
In other words, stick to a balanced diet. No surprise there.
Okay. So you have your weight goals firmly in mind and three, or four, or even seven times a week, you manage to Hup! Two, three, four at home, or in the gym, or on a walk around the block. The next task set forth by the Guidelines is to put together a diet that supports your new healthy lifestyle.
From the beginning, way back in 1980, the various editions of the Guidelines have recommended that you build your diet on a base of plant foods. Why? Because plant foods
Add plenty of bulk but few calories to your diet, so you feel full without adding weight
Are usually low in fat and have no cholesterol, which means they reduce your risk of heart disease
Are high in fiber, which reduces the risk of heart disease; prevents constipation; reduces the risk of developing hemorrhoids (or at least makes existing ones less painful); moves food quickly through your digestive tract, thus reducing the risk of diverticular disease (inflammation caused by food getting caught in the folds of your intestines and causing tiny out-pouchings of the weakened gut wall); and may lower your risk of some gastrointestinal cancers.
Are rich in beneficial substances called phytochemicals, which may reduce your risk of heart disease and some forms of cancer.
For all these reasons, the Guidelines recommend that a basic 2,000-calorie daily diet includes
2 cups of fruit
2.5 cups of vegetables (include dark green, orange, and starchy veggies, plus beans)
3 or more 1-ounce servings of whole grain products
To protect your bones, the Guidelines advise washing down your plants with 3 daily cups of low-fat milk (349 milligrams calcium) or fat-free milk (306 milligrams calcium) or the equivalent amount of milk products such as cheddar cheese, which has 204 milligrams calcium per ounce.