By Linda Means, Clinical Nutrition Coordinator, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock
During National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers advice on reducing sugar, sodium, and saturated fats to “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right.”
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends limiting the amounts of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fats that you eat because the majority of Americans follow a diet that is too high in these components.
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines
Consume less than 10 percent of your calories per day from added sugars. Choose foods and beverages with no added sugar whenever possible.
- Read food labels and avoid buying foods with added sugars like high-fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, brown rice syrup, honey, agave, or maple syrup.
- Drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice instead of sugary beverages.
- Choose snacks with no added sugar. For example, eat plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt on whole fruits such as berries, pears, peaches.
- Grill fruits such as pineapple or peaches for a naturally sweet and healthier dessert.
- Eat smaller dessert portions. Often a bite or two will satisfy a sweet tooth.
Consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day (1 teaspoon of salt). This guideline is for healthy adults – those with certain medical conditions may need lower amounts. Most sodium consumed comes from salts added during commercial food processing and preparation, so careful choices are needed to reduce your sodium intake.
- Use the “Nutrition Facts” label to compare sodium content of foods and choose products with less sodium.
- Buy frozen or canned products without added salt.
- Buy fresh poultry, seafood, pork, and lean meat rather than processed meat and poultry.
- Cook meals from scratch to control sodium content.
- Buy fewer jarred sauces and pre-flavored products.
- Flavor foods with citrus, herbs, and spices instead of salt.
Reduce saturated fat to less than 10 percent of calories per day. Reduce your intake of saturated fats by replacing them with unsaturated fats.
- Saturated fat is found in foods such as meats, whole milk, cream, butter, and cheese. Unsaturated fat, which includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, is found in foods like oils, fatty fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Drink fat-free or low-fat milk (1-percent) instead of 2-percent or whole milk, and eat low-fat cheese instead of regular cheeses, oils instead of butter, and lean rather than fatty cuts of meats.
The BHealthy section of the Baptist Health website includes a variety of helpful articles, recipes, and educational resources to help spread the message of good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages.