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ISSA Nutritionist Chapter 14: Dietary Guidelines 1

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    Chapter Goals:

    • Be able to give definition and to describe the dietary guidelines for Americans.
    • Explain the United States Department of Agriculture nutrition programs that rely on these dietary guidelines.
    • Be able to discuss the key elements of healthy eating.
    • Find the dietary suggestions to align with patterns of healthy eating.

    Introduction

    The US department of health and human services, also called the HHS, and the US department of agriculture, known as the USDA, create and update a list of dietary guidelines that Americans should follow for promotion of a sustainable diet that gives lifelong health and nutrition.

    Foods available in the United States will include fresh, packaged, and processed products. 

    For the best choices, it is important that the consumers are able to read and understand the labels on their food. 

    Just being able to read the nutrition label, ingredient lists, and food labels would make a world of difference. 

    The current dietary guidelines are useful for those that are trying to make healthy food choices and craft their own well-rounded diet. 

    Purpose of Dietary Guidelines

    These guidelines are meant to guide the development of federal health policies, programs, food, and nutrition. The main audiences will be the people making the policies and the nutrition and health professionals, not so much the general public.

    The publication of these guidelines is important for the professionals that are working with the population to change the daily choices and prevent the chronic disease that are becoming prevalent in society.

    The dietary guidelines are used by the USDA and HHS food programs, along with other programs that work with federal departments. This includes programs like:

    • The USDA’s national school lunch program and school breakfast program, which is in charge of feeding over 30 million kids every school day.
    • The supplemental nutrition assistance program
    • The special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants, and children
    • The HHS Administration on aging older Americans act nutrition services programs. This looks at thousands of community-based service providers.
    • The department of defense and department of veterans affairs food programs.

    The dietary guidelines are also used to make programs, policies, and communicate to audiences outside of those mentioned.

    Five Focus Areas of the Dietary Guidelines

    The dietary guidelines are organized progressively, so it starts with five core concepts and then follows those up with more detailed guidelines for choices in food.

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    First, follow a healthy eating pattern across your life span

    All of your choices in food and beverage matter, so choosing an eating pattern that is at the right calorie level and allows the proper level of nutrients will reduce the risk for chronic diseases.

    Second, focus on variety, nutrient density, and food amounts

    In order to meet the nutrient needs and stay within the calorie limits, you should be choosing nutrient-dense foods across and in all food groups in the recommended amounts.

    Third, limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce the intake of sodium

    Healthy eating patterns would ideally be low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.

    Fourth, shift to healthier food and beverage choices

    Choose beverages and foods that are nutrient-dense and in all food groups.

    Fifth, support healthy eating patterns for all.

    Everyone should have a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in many settings nationwide, from school to home, at work, and in your communities.

    Limiting added sugars

    These came up in one of the guidelines and is worth repeating due to the presence in so many of today’s foods.

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    The recommendation for these added sugars is for them to only be 10 percent or less of your total daily calories taken in. 

    Limiting unhealthy fats

    Calories from trans and saturated fats should be less than 10 percent of the calories taken per day. Ideally, you should be replacing more saturated ones with the unsaturated ones, so that you can reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease.

    Limiting sodium

    Sodium intake is ideal when it is 2,300 mg or less per day. 

    This is set at the tolerable upper intake level, and it goes for people aged 14 and up.

    Limiting alcohol

    This is important to do, as alcohol is essentially the same as drinking empty calories. The ideal limit is set to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men.

    The Food Pyramid to MyPlate

    The food pyramid is recognized by most, and the new way to implement it is with the MyPlate diagram. This is the breakdown of how an ideal plate should look for someone. 

    This MyPlate tool is one of the main tools that nutrition coaches should use, and they break down the fractions of dairy, vegetables, grains, fruits, and protein that you should get.

    ISSA Nutritionist Chapter 14: Dietary Guidelines 2
    ISSA Nutritionist Chapter 14: Dietary Guidelines 3
    ISSA Nutritionist Chapter 14: Dietary Guidelines 4

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