Mary Hartley, RD, MPH, is the director of nutrition for Calorie Count, providing domain expertise on issues related to nutrition, weight loss and health. She creates original content for weekly blogs and newsletters, for the Calorie Count library, and for her popular daily Question-and-Answer section, Ask Mary. Ms. Hartley also furnishes direction for the site features and for product development.
Saturated fat was recently in the news at the Institute of Food Technologists expo when experts revealed, again, that the link between saturated fat and cardiovascular disease is inconclusive. Both the public and professionals are now confused, since diets low in fat, particularly saturated fat, have been the mainstay of scientific consensus for more than 30 years. Saturated fat, a solid fat mainly found in animal foods, includes cheese, whole milk, butter, and fatty cuts of meat. It, together with liquid poly- and mono-unsaturated fats from nuts, seeds, grains and fish, make up all naturally-occurring dietary fat.
Back in the 1970s, the American Heart Association and other authorities said to reduce all fat to 30 percent of total calories and saturated fat to 10 percent or less. The recommendation was drawn from epidemiologic studies that compared the diets among different countries, in particular, the Seven Countries Study. Those studies showed a correlation between total fat intake and rates of heart disease. That, along with the National Diet-Heart Study of the 1960s, form the basis of the message that reduction in saturated fat lowers blood cholesterol and risk of heart disease.
With the recent announcement that the food pyramid will be replaced by the new MyPlate icon, Americans are more aware than ever that it’s time to start eating their vegetables.
While the plate icon offers a visual, user-friendly guide to help people make better food choices, some of the 2021 Dietary Guidelines, like eating more fish, beans and whole grains, are not addressed.
Before you start cooking dinners based on MyPlate, keep the size of your plate in mind and check your portion sizes. According to the Mayo Clinic, reasonable portion sizes include:
- One serving of protein should be three to six ounces (three for women, six for men) and about the size of a deck of playing cards.
- One serving of whole grains should be the equivalent of one slice of bread, 1/3 cup brown rice or 1/2 cup whole-wheat pasta.
- One serving of dairy is equivalent to an 8 ounce glass of milk or 1 ounce cheese (about the size of four dice).
- One serving of fruit and vegetables should be approximately 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw.
When you hear high sodium food, you usually think salty snacks: pretzels, chips, crackers and the like. You may be surprised, however, that some of the highest sodium foods aren’t salty tasting at all.
We all should be cutting down on our sodium intake, as recommended by the 2021 American Dietary Guidelines, so head to your pantry and see if any of these sneaky sodium-packed foods have found there way into your kitchen.
Breakfast cereals are notorious for not only being packed full of sugar, but sodium as well. Cereals “are more concentrated in salt than 50 to 60 percent of the items in the salty snack aisle,” says Dr. David Katz, founding director of Yale’s Prevention Research Center.
With many of us trying to keep our salt intake down (especially after these new, more restrictive, sodium guidelines were released), it’s always nice to hear that there are delicious ways to season our food without adding sodium. Now, new research shows there’s something you can do outside of the kitchen to keep sodium low: Exercise!
Scientists at the recent American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism/Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention 2021 Scientific Sessions found that the more physically active you are, the less your blood pressure rises in response to a high-salt diet. Talk about good news for those who work out, and fantastic motivation for those just thinking of starting a workout plan, right?
Packaged foods often get a bad rap for contributing to problems in America like obesity and heart disease. While this is sometimes true, other brands are working to improve nutrition in the country. Sargento Foods, Inc., in partnership with culinary expert and registered dietitian, Michelle Dudash, is making it easier for Americans to incorporate healthier – yet tasty – options in their diets.
With the recent release of the 2021 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture, there is a greater call for people to choose nutrient-dense foods that are lower in sodium and saturated fat. And Sargento Reduced Sodium and Reduced Fat natural cheeses are just that.