The latest USDA dietary recommendations incorporates most of the same recommendations that are touted under different names:
- “Heart healthy diet”
- “Anti-cancer diet”
- “Anti-aging diet”
- “Anti-Alzheimer’s disease diet”
- “Anti-inflammatory diet”
- “Anti-diabetes diet”
- “Mediterranean diet”
- “Japanese diet”
- …and the list goes on…
In summary, these are the recommendations:
- Consume less total fat (especially saturated fat)
- Maintain a healthy caloric balance (through a combined approach of calorie intake and physical activity)
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables, beans and grains
- Decrease your intake of processed foods, simple carbohydrates (i.e. refined sugars, flours and grains), and artificial chemicals (i.e. coloring and preservatives)
- Limit your consumption of high-glycemic index foods, while preferentially consuming low-glycemic index foods
- Limit your intake of protein from foods higher in saturated fats (i.e. dairy and red meat), in favor of plant and fish based proteins
- Although not a dietary recommendation, most studies demonstrate that 150 minutes of physical activity each week is associated with improved health outcomes (The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has a great guide I highly recommend: “2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans“)
There really isn’t anything new and exciting here. This is simply a restating of many of the recommendations that we have all intuitively known…but many of us have found hard to commit to and follow.
By following these recommendations, you will significantly decrease your risk (estimated: by 20-50%) of dying from the most common causes of death in men and women: cardiovascular disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, and diabetes.
Imagine if you could take a magic pill that would consistently and safely deliver similar results…my guess is that this pill would quickly become the most lucrative drug ever developed and the research team would be nominated for a Nobel Prize in Medicine.