2016 USDA Dietary Guidelines

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They say kids are what they eat. The USDA's new guidelines don't really hold any big surprises, but you can still make improvements on what you give your family.

They don’t like saturated fat, they don’t like sugar and now protein’s on the chopping block as far as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is concerned. Every five years there are new USDA dietary guidelines, so that’s not new, but cutting back on protein for teen boys IS. Especially when teen boys just want to bulk up. As usual, lean meats, fruits and vegetables provide the way to healthy eating and slimmer waistlines. Eating or drinking too much sugar will make you fat — this isn’t rocket science — but obesity still prevails in a world filled with delicious sweets and tasty sauces.

Here’s what to know about new recommendations:

SUGAR & SALT
Considering that one medium white chocolate mocha from Starbucks has a whopping 570 calories in it, the USDA’s recommended 200 calories a day from sugar seems scant. But the recommendation is part of a larger push to help people isolate added sugars from naturally occurring ones like those in fruit and milk. Added sugars generally put empty calories in a diet. Heres the truth: refined sugar is a toxin, and since kids consume a lot of sweet stuff (soda, juice, sports drinks, treats, candy), the USDA always suggests limiting it. You can help your kids in one significant way: replace the juice or soda at home with water. It’s one great step toward better health.

As for salt? The USDA is always trying to get people to cut back, and it continues to recommend it, especially for people with high blood pressure and/or hypertension.

EGGS, FATS, CHOLESTEROL
Eggs are good, eggs are bad … what are they, anyway? The recommendations include messaging that reads, “individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern.” So eggs in moderation … and it’s up to you to decide what that means. You can do it.

As in years past, the new guidelines say we should limit saturated fats to 10 percent of our daily total calories. And while the USDA promotes lean meats, the government says teen boys and men should reduce their meat intake and increase their vegetable citing data that males ages 14 – 70 consume more than the recommended amounts of meat, eggs and poultry. Females are more in line with advised amounts — good job, girls!

COFFEE
Parents can be glad that java’s not taking a hit with the new recommendations. Moderate coffee consumption (three to five small cups a day) is seen as a good thing — albeit without the white chocolate or other high-calorie sweet stuff, sorry.

BETTER-EATING CHECKLIST

• Reduce sugar and salt
• Choose water when thirsty
• Enjoy eggs a few times a week
• Easy does it with red meat
• Increase fruit and veggie intake
• Enjoy coffee, unsweetened

Chad Young is the managing editor and arts/entertainment editor for this publication.

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