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Official Dietary Guidelines for Americans
|Grains||6 servings||9 servings||11 servings|
|Vegetables||3 servings||4 servings||5 servings|
|Fruits||2 servings||3 servings||4 servings|
|Dairy/Milk||2-3 servings||2-3 servings||2-3 servings|
|Total Fat (30%)||53g||73g||93g|
|Total Added Sugars||6 tsp||12 tsp||18 tsp|
The Dietary Guidelines recommend that Americans limit fat in their diets to 30 percent of calories. This amounts to 53 grams of fat in a 1,600-calorie diet, 73 grams of fat in a 2,200-calorie diet, and 93 grams of fat in a 2,800-calorie diet.
You will get up to half this fat even if you pick the lowest fat choice from each good group and add no fat to your foods in preparation or at the table.
You decide how to use the additional fat in your daily diet. You may want to have foods from the five major food groups that are higher in fat - such as whole milk instead of skim milk. Or you may want to use it in cooking or at the table in the form of spreads, dressings, or toppings.
If you want to be sure you have a low fat diet, you can count the grams of fat in your day's food choices using the Pyramid Food Choices Chart, and compare them to the number of grams of fat suggested for you calorie level.
You don't need to count fat grams every day, but doing a fat checkup once in awhile will help keep you on the right track. If you find you are eating too much fat, choose lower fat foods more often.
You can figure the number of grams of fat that provide 30% of calories in your daily diet as follow:
A. Multiply your total day's calories by 0.30 to get your calories from fat per day. Example: 2,200 calories x 0.30 = 660 calories from fat.
B. Divide calories from fat per day by 9 (each gram of fat has 9 calories) to get grams of fat per day. Example: 660 calories from fat ÷ 9 = 73 grams of fat.
Eating too much saturated fat raises blood cholesterol levels in many people, increasing their risk for heart disease. The Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories, or about on-third of total fat intake.
All fats in foods are mixtures of three types of fatty acids - saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated.
Saturated fats are found in largest amounts in fats from meat and dairy product and in some vegetables fats such as coconut, palm, and palm kernel oils.
Monounsaturated fats are found mainly in olive, peanut, and canola oils.
Polyunsaturated fats are found mainly in safflower, sunflower, corn, soybean, and cottonseed oils and some fish.
Choose fat from a variety of food sources, but mostly from those foods that are higher in polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat.
Just so you know, cholesterol and fat are not the same thing. Cholesterol is a fat-like substance present in all animal foods - meat, poultry, fish, milk and milk products, and egg yolks. Both the lean and fat of meat and the meat and skin of poultry contain cholesterol. In milk products, cholesterol is mostly in the fat, so lower fat products contain less cholesterol. Egg yolks and organ meats, like liver, are high in cholesterol. Plant foods do not contain cholesterol. Dietary cholesterol, as well as saturated fat, raises blood cholesterol levels in many people, increasing their risk for heart disease. Some health authorities recommend that dietary cholesterol be limited to an average of 300 mg or less per day. To keep dietary cholesterol to this level, follow the Food Guide Pyramid, keeping your total fat to the amount that's right for you. It's not necessary to eliminate all foods that are high in cholesterol. You can have three to four egg yolks a week, counting those used as ingredients in custards and baked products. Use lower fat dairy products often and occasionally include dry beans and peas in place of meat.
Choosing a diet low in fat is a concern for everyone; choosing one low in sugars is also important for people who have low calorie needs. Sugars include white sugar, brown sugar, raw sugar, corn syrup, honey, and molasses; these supply calories and little else nutritionally.
To avoid getting too many calories from sugars, try to limit your added sugars to 6 teaspoons a day if you eat about 1,600 calories, 12 teaspoons at 2,200 calories, or 18 teaspoons at 2,800 calories. These amounts are intended to be averages over time. The patterns are illustrations of healthful proportions in the diet, not rigid prescriptions.
Added sugars are in foods like candy and soft drinks, as well as jams, jellies, and sugars you add at the table. Some added sugars are also in foods from the food groups, such as fruit canned in heavy syrup and chocolate milk.
Some health authorities say that sodium intake should not be more than 2,400 mg. Nutrition labels also list a Daily Value (upper limit) of 2,400 mg per day of sodium. Much of the sodium in people's diets comes from salt they add while cooking and at the table. (One teaspoon of salt provides about 2, 000 mg of sodium.)
Be careful with salt and foods that are high in sodium, including cured meats, luncheon meats, and many cheeses, most canned soups and vegetables, and soy sauce. Try to find lower salt and no-salt-added versions of these products at your supermarket.
These foods provide complex carbohydrates (starches), which are an important source of energy, especially in low fat diets. They also provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 6 to 11 servings of these foods a day.
-1 slice of bread
-1 ounce of ready-to-eat cereal
-1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta
Vegetables provide vitamins, such as vitamins A and C, and folate, and minerals, such as iron and magnesium. They are naturally low in fat and also provide fiber. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 3 to 5 servings of these foods a day.
Different types of vegetables provide different nutrients. For variety eat:
Include dark-green leafy vegetables and legumes several times a week - they are especially good sources of vitamins and minerals. Legumes also provide protein and can be used in place of meat. Go easy of the fat you add to vegetables at the table or during cooking. Added spreads or toppings, such as butter, mayonnaise, and salad dressing, count as fat. Use low fat salad dressing.
-1 cup of raw leafy vegetables
-1/2 cup of other vegetables, cooked or chopped raw
-3/4 cup of vegetable juice
Fruit and fruit juices provide important amounts of vitamins A and C and potassium. They are low in fat and sodium. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 4 servings of fruits a day.
-Medium apple, banana, or orange
-1/2 cup of chopped, cooked, or canned fruit
-3/4 cup of fruit juice
Meat, poultry, and fish supply protein, B vitamins, iron, and zinc. The other foods in this group - dry beans, eggs, and nuts - are similar to meats in providing protein and most vitamins and minerals. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings each day of foods from this group. The total amount of these servings should be the equivalent of 5 to 7 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry, or fish per day.
-2-3 ounces of cooked lean meat, poultry,
or fish as a serving. A 3-ounce piece of meat is about the size of an
average hamburger, or the meat on a medium chicken breast half.
- 1/2 cup of cooked dry beans or 1 egg as 1 ounce of lean meat.
-2 tablespoons of peanut butter or 1/3 cup of nuts count as 1 ounce of meat
Milk products provide protein, vitamins, and minerals. Milk, yogurt, and cheese are the best source of calcium. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese a day - 2 for most people, and 3 for women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, teenagers, and young adults to age 24.
-1 cup of milk or yogurt
-1-1/2 ounces of natural cheese
-2 ounces of process cheese
If you choose to drink, you should have no more that 1 to 2 drinks a day. Alcoholic beverages provide calories, but little to no nutrients.
From A to Z - apricots to zucchini, adzuki beans to ziti - every food fits into the Food Guide Pyramid! The Pyramid is meant for all healthy people from age two on up. It offers practical advice to enjoy the diverse array of foods available in today's marketplace. With its five food groups, the Pyramid has many kinds of foods that promote health. Chosen carefully, all foods can be part of your healthful eating style. Follow the Pyramid's advice. You'll consume the nutrients and energy you need...without too many calories, or too much fat, cholesterol, or sugars. Enjoy different foods within each food group. Even similar foods differ in their nutrition content. That's another reason for making food variety part of your eating style! Enjoy your favorite foods and your favorite places to eat. After all, no foods or meals are "good" or "bad." The foods you choose for the whole day, even several days, are what counts. Eat at least the lowest number of servings recommended for each food group daily. And enjoy just a bit from the Pyramid tip.
U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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