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New U.S. Dietary Guidelines: What Not to Eat

Guidelines Call for Less Salt, Fats, and Fast Food and More Seafood, Lowfat Dairy, and Fruits and Veggies

New Dietary Guidelines

So what should the new American diet look like? The new guidelines suggest:

  • 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

"With these dietary guidelines we’re putting the best information in people's hands," HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said at the news conference.

For now, the hard-to-understand food pyramid stays. But look for changes this spring, when the USDA and HHS plan a massive campaign to sell the new dietary guidelines to all Americans.

"We know what to eat," Zelman says. "But the new dietary guidelines will help consumers understand how to substitute healthier foods for less healthy foods and to put together more nutrient-rich meals and snacks."

What shouldn't we eat? The new guidelines point to specific sources of SoFAS and refined grains.


Dietary Guidelines: Worst Foods 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.

The 10 foods that give us the most solid fats (and the percentage of solid fats from each food):

  1. Grain-based desserts (10.8%)
  2. Pizza (9.1%)
  3. Regular cheese (7.6%)
  4. Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs (7.1%)
  5. French fries (4.8%)
  6. Dairy desserts (4.7%)
  7. Tortillas, burritos, and tacos (4.6%)
  8. Chicken and mixed chicken dishes (4.1%)
  9. Pasta and pasta dishes (3.9%)
  10. Whole milk (3.9%, just ahead of burgers at 3.8%)


Dietary Guidelines: Worst Foods for Saturated Fat

The body makes its own saturated fat -- and we don't need any more from our diet. High intake of saturated fat is linked to high cholesterol levels, which in turn are linked to heart disease.

The 10 foods from which Americans get most of their saturated fat (and the percentages of saturated fats from each food):

  1. Regular cheese (8.5%)
  2. Pizza (5.9%)
  3. Grain-based desserts (5.8%)
  4. Dairy desserts (5.6%)
  5. Chicken and chicken mixed dishes (5.5%)
  6. Sausage, franks, bacon, and ribs (4.9%)
  7. Burgers (4.4%)
  8. Tortillas, burritos, and tacos (4.1%)
  9. Beef and beef mixed dishes (4.1%)
  10. Reduced-fat milk (3.9%)


Dietary Guidelines: Worst Foods for Added Sugars

Added sugars make up 16% of the total calories in American diets. Like solid fats, they're a major factor in obesity. Far atop the list are sugary beverages.

The 10 foods from which Americans get most of their added sugars (and the percentage of total added sugars from each food):

  1. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks (35.7%)
  2. Grain-based desserts (12.9%)
  3. Fruit drinks (10.5%)
  4. Dairy desserts (6.5%)
  5. Candy (6.1%)
  6. Ready-to-eat cereals (3.8%)
  7. Sugars and honey (3.5%)
  8. Tea (3.5%)
  9. Yeast breads (2.1%)
  10. All other foods (15.4%)


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