On January 7, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Agriculture released the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines provide food-based recommendations for Americans aged two years and older, and reflect the current body of nutrition science. As a part of following an overall healthy diet, these recommendations encourage us to limit the sodium we are eating.
The American Heart Association supports a healthy eating pattern similar to these guidelines, and encourages us to:
Adopt the total diet concept that an overall heart-healthy dietary pattern emphasizes.
This healthy eating pattern includes, but is not limited to: more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish and nuts; and limits saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars such as sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages.
Consume lower levels of sodium.
For optimal heart-health, the AHA sodium recommendation is that most American adults should aim to eat no more than 1,500 mg of sodium per day. Since the average American’s sodium intake is so excessive, even reducing sodium to the 2,300 mg per day recommended by the Dietary Guidelines will produce significant improvement in the population’s blood pressure and heart health.
And we know, based on a new study from the CDC, that too many Americans are eating too much salt. It is so important to track how much sodium you are eating to know how you might be able to eat less of it. .
Americans deserve the opportunity to choose how much sodium they are eating. Right now, that decision has been made for them by food manufacturers and the restaurant industry—about 77 percent of the sodium Americans consume comes from sodium added during processing. Want to take action to make a change? Visit our action center to learn more.
Maintain a healthy limit on saturated fats.
These fats can raise bad cholesterol levels and increase risk of heart diseases and stroke. Saturated fats are found mainly in animal fats, meat and dairy products, and tropical oils like coconut and palm.
Watch out for added sugars
For the first time, the guidelines include a definitive amount for the consumption of added sugars: less than 10 percent of calories per day. The AHA encourages Americans to curb consumption of added sugars, especially from sugar-sweetened beverages like regular sodas, sports drinks, and fruit-flavored drinks.
How will these new guidelines impact the way you eat? Let us know in the comments!