Weight Loss with the New USDA Dietary Guidelines
Alarmed by the increase of obesity in America (34% of adults are obese, another 34% are overweight in 2008), the United States Department of Agriculture has finally changed the food pyramid and the dietary guidelines. As of 2010 the pyramid looked like this:
- 6 -11 servings of grains, with no distinction between simple and complex carbohydrates.
- 3 – 5 servings of vegetables
- 2 – 4 servings of fruits
- 2 – 3 servings of dairy, with no distinction between low and high-fat choices
- 2 – 3 servings of meat, eggs, nuts, and beans, with no distinction between low and high-fat choices
- Fats, oils, sweets, with a recommendation that they be eaten sparingly.
These old dietary guidelines are a landmine of bad fat, too much fat, too much sugar, hidden sugar, and not enough fiber ….not to mention poor nutrition! They make it very difficult for people who want to lose weight.
On June 2, 2011 the United States Department of Agriculture replaced the 19-year-old food pyramid with a colorful 4-section plate as the icon representing the new USDA dietary guidelines. This icon (called MyPlate) divides food choices for each day into 4 groups it deems to be healthiest. The groups are vegetables, fruits, grains, and protein. It looks like this:
- Vegetables, approximately 1/4th of the plate
- Fruits, approximately 1/4th of the plate
- Grains, approximately 1/4th of the plate, still allowing 1/2 of grains to be refined.
- Proteins, approximately 1/4th of the plate.
Vegetables are represented as slightly larger than fruits, and grains are represented as slightly larger than proteins. Beside the plate is a small glass representing dairy, the fifth food group. There is no longer a group for fats, oils, and sweets.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gives specifics that emphasize making low-fat choices in dairy and proteins, choosing complex carbohydrates whenever possible, skipping fast food and processed food for fresh, healthy “live” food choices, and avoiding extra sugar. In general, these are the things that make us fat and sick. He gives specific guidelines about what to do and what to avoid.
- Eat more seafood — at least 8 ounces a week
- Eat more fruits and vegetables
- Substitute healthy oils for solid fats (such as margarine)
- Lower your sodium intake
- Avoid fast foods
- Exercise more
- Read food labels
- Substitute whole grains for refined grains
- Eat more beans and peas
- Get plenty of fiber, potassium, and vitamin D
- Eat/drink more nonfat or low-fat dairy products
- Replace high-fat meats with lean meats
- For some Americans, drink less alcohol
- Get off your SoFAS (Solid fats, added sugar)
This configuration is fairly close to an ideal plan for both losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight. It will also help you to recapture and maintain excellent health.
Vilsack goes on to specify the worst offenders for solid fats. Solid fats make up almost a fifth of the total calories in American diets. They are a major factor behind the obesity epidemic. Here are the 10 foods that give us the most solid fats (and the percentage of solid fats from each food):
- Grain-based desserts (10.8%)
- Pizza (9.1%)
- Regular cheese (7.6%)
- Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs (7.1%)
- French fries (4.8%)
- Dairy desserts (4.7%)
- Tortillas, burritos, and tacos (4.6%)
- Chicken and mixed chicken dishes (4.1%)
- Pasta and pasta dishes (3.9%)
- Whole milk (3.9%, just ahead of burgers at 3.8%)
Vilsack also gives us the worst foods for added sugar. Added sugars make up 16% of the total calories in American diets. Like solid fats, they are a major factor in obesity. Sugary beverages are by far the greatest offenders. Here are the 10 foods from which Americans get most of their added sugars (and the percentage of total added sugars from each food):
- Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks (35.7%)
- Grain-based desserts (12.9%)
- Fruit drinks (10.5%)
- Dairy desserts (6.5%)
- Candy (6.1%)
- Ready-to-eat cereals (3.8%)
- Sugars and honey (3.5%)
- Tea (3.5%)
- Yeast breads (2.1%)
- All other foods (15.4%)
(Source: Webmd.com/USDA Ditches Food Pyramid for a Healthy Plate)
Nutritionists see these new guidelines as great steps toward beginning to repair the problems of obesity and preventable disease in America. They are right. If you make changes in your diet in accordance with these guidelines, don’t overeat, and exercise – 15 minutes a day to start – you will lose weight.
Vegans have been advocates for this type of diet (substituting other products for animal and dairy products) for a long time. A Vegan Flush with its fresh, nutritious food is a great jumpstart to adopting these dietary guidelines. Its emphasis is on cleansing the toxins from old destructive eating habits which included saturated fats, too much fat, too much sugar, and undigested remnants of meat and other products.
Give the Vegan Flush a try. You’ll lose weight and feel healthier than you have in a long time.
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