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Angelina Schrauger
Angelina Schrauger

Encyclopedia Of Foods. A Guide To Healthy Nutri...

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The Dietary Guidelines attempt to answer the question, "What should Americans eat to stay healthy" Specifically, the dietary guidelines provide advice for healthy Americans aged two years and older about food choices that promote health and reduce the risk of disease.

Between 1980 and 1995, the dietary guidelines were relatively stable (Table 1), maintaining seven guidelines. However, the 1995 guidelines reflected some exciting and important changes. More so than ever before, they put an emphasis on total diet; the wording in the 1995 guidelines moved away from individual foods in the direction of a total diet based on variety, moderation, and proportionality. The concept of total diet is reflected symbolically through the graphic of the 1995 Dietary Guidelines bulletin that links all seven guidelines together, anchored around the admonition to "Eat a variety of foods."

In the 1995 guideline on variety, the bulletin stresses a total diet rather than an individual food approach to healthy eating. The recommendation is to choose foods from each of the five major food groups in the Food Guide Pyramid. Also an emphasis is placed on foods from the base of the pyramid (grains) to form the center of the plate accompanied by food from other food groups.

The 1995 guidelines also moved more forcefully in the direction of providing a discussion of the direct link between diet and health. Weight gain with age was discouraged for adults. Weight maintenance is encouraged as a first step to achieving a healthy weight. The benefits of physical activity are emphasized. And for the first time, a statement was included on the benefits of moderate alcohol in reducing the risk of heart disease. On this later point, both HHS and USDA were clear that the alcohol guideline was not intended to recommend that people start drinking.

In the 1995 guidelines there was also direct reference to the nutrition education tools that could be used to promote the dietary guidelines. The guidelines explain how consumers can use the three "crown jewels" to build a healthy diet: the Dietary Guidelines, the Food Guide Pyramid, and the Nutrition Facts Label.

The Dietary Guidelines 2000, released by President Bill Clinton in May 2000, break with the tradition of seven guidelines and now include ten separate guidelines. Not only do the Dietary Guidelines 2000 continue to emphasize a total diet approach, they also emphasize a healthy lifestyle. This is reflected clearly in three new concepts that are used as organizing principles for the 2000 Guidelines: "Aim for fitness," "Build a healthy base," "Choose sensibly."

There is now a separate guideline for physical activity that states, "Be physically active every day." In addition to helping to maintain a healthy weight, this guideline also discusses the other health benefits of physical activity. Specific quantitative recommendations are given for amount of physical activity for adults (30 minutes or more) and children (60 minutes or more) per day. For the first time ever there is now a guideline on food safety. Again, this reinforces components of a healthy diet and healthy lifesyle.

The consumer research that was conducted as part of the Dietary Guidelines 2000 process influenced the development of the guidelines. One clear message is that consumers preferred simple, action-oriented guidelines. Thus the guidelines themselves are much more direct and action-oriented as evidenced by: "Aim for a healthy weight!" or "Keep foods safe to eat."

Countries typically also include a weight guideline, which emphasizes very clearly the maintenance or achievement of a healthy weight; in the French guideline, there is more specificity indicating individuals should weigh themselves monthly. Most of the dietary guidelines worldwide promote a plant-based diet as the building block of healthful eating. To that end, many countries emphasize grains as the basis of good diet. Reduction of salt and/or sodium is emphasized in a number of the sets of dietary guidelines.

Finally, the issue of alcohol consumption is addressed in many sets of dietary guidelines. There is always a level of caution related to the role of alcohol as part of a healthy diet. The 2000 dietary guidelines for Americans, as an example, indicate that benefits of alcohol in reducing the risk of heart disease can be achieved in other ways, such as maintaining a healthy weight, cessation of smoking, increasing physical activity, and reducing the level of fat and saturated fat in the diet. Indeed, countries like Venezuela go even further and specify: "Alcoholic beverages are not part of a healthy diet" (14).

Healthy eating does not mean that you have to follow a very strict diet or eat only a few specific types of food. It doesn't mean that you can never eat your favorite foods. You can eat a variety of foods, including less healthy favorites. But it's important not to eat too much of those foods or have them too often. You can balance those foods with healthier foods and regular physical activity.

A healthy diet may contain fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and may include little to no processed food or sweetened beverages. The requirements for a healthy diet can be met from a variety of plant-based and animal-based foods, although additional sources of vitamin B12 are needed for those following a vegan diet.[4] Various nutrition guides are published by medical and governmental institutions to educate individuals on what they should be eating to be healthy. Nutrition facts labels are also mandatory in some countries to allow consumers to choose between foods based on the components relevant to health.[5][6]

From a psychological and cultural perspective, a healthier diet may be difficult to achieve for people with poor eating habits.[110] This may be due to tastes acquired in childhood and preferences for sugary, salty and fatty foods.[111] In 2018, the UK chief medical officer recommended that sugar and salt be taxed to discourage consumption.[112] The UK government 2020 Obesity Strategy encourages healthier choices by restricting point-of-sale promotions of less-healthy foods and drinks.[113]

The most recent guide continues to emphasize moderation in food intake and the importance of balancing food with exercise for Canadians of all ages. Another focal point of the modern Food Guide is the emphasis on the overall diet; through the 1970s the food guides only described the minimum nutritional requirements for individuals. Currently the serving ranges of different food groups reflect the dietary needs of a broad population base, from young children through to adults over age 50. A specific guide for Indigenous Canadians has also been developed that includes recommendations for traditional and non-traditional foods.

Because both sleep and nutrition are extremely complex and involve multiple interconnected systems of the body, it is challenging to conduct research studies that conclusively demonstrate a single diet that is best for sleep. Instead, what appears most important is that a person gets adequate nutrition without overconsuming unhealthy foods. 59ce067264


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