Remember Your Vegetable Subgroups

The government has released a new set of dietary guidelines, and there’s little about them that are likely to change your eating habits.

No, science hasn’t discovered that salty snacks and ice cream are particularly good for you.

Yes, you should eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.

The new guidelines – from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture – did get specific about some things, such as vegetable types.

Here is an overview:

The Dietary Guidelines’ Key Recommendations for healthy eating patterns should be applied in their entirety, given the interconnected relationship that each dietary component can have with others.

Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

Key Recommendations that are quantitative are provided for several components of the diet that should be limited. These components are of particular public health concern in the United States, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating patterns within calorie limits:

  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium

You should also drink alcohol only in moderation, and get plenty of exercise and fresh air.

Nothing earth-shattering here, just good advice. Will we listen? Some of us undoubtedly will, but they’re the ones who don’t need guidelines in the first place, (you know, those healthy types).

But the rest of us can at least set some goals.

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