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To Your Health: NLM update Transcript

New food and health guidelines: 01/25/2016

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Greetings from the National Library of Medicine and MedlinePlus.gov

Regards to all our listeners!

I'm Rob Logan, Ph.D., senior staff, U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM).

Here is what's new this week in To Your Health — a consumer health oriented podcast from NLM — that helps you use MedlinePlus to follow up on weekly topics.

The newly released dietary guidelines for Americans suggest several specific, wise-eating strategies to improve your health.

To begin, the guidelines (from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) suggest adults consume less than 10 percent of daily calories from sugar as well as saturated or trans fat — all of which can be added to processed and other foods.

Since the guidelines are based on an adult eating about 2000 calories a day, just applied to sugar — the suggestion is to limit consumption to about 50 grams a day. To provide a sobering perspective, some single bottles of soda pop contain about 50 grams of sugar.

I should add the quantity of sugar (as well as saturated and trans fat) are provided on the labels of the processed foods in food stores, such as cans and jars, as well as frozen and freshly made foods.

The guidelines also suggest we should not eat more than a teaspoon (or 2,300 milligrams) of salt a day. Similar to sugar and fats, the suggested limits on salt are challenging to monitor unless you read the labels of fresh, frozen, canned or other foods brought in food stores.

While some restaurants provide salt, sugar, and fat information on menus or upon request, immediate nutritional feedback is not always readily available.

The guidelines also encourage adults to limit alcohol consumption to one drink per day for women, and two drinks a day for men.

More positively, the new guidelines (that are revised every five years) encourage us to eat (among other things): dark green, red and orange vegetables; beans and peas; whole fruits; whole grains; and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.

The new guidelines also advise us to eat protein rich foods, such as seafood, lean means and poultry, eggs, nuts, seed, and soy products. Beans and peas also are considered to be protein foods, according to the guidelines.

As many news organizations reported, the new guidelines skip the cholesterol limits that were formerly provided and urge us instead, to consume as little cholesterol as possible. The new guidelines also mark the first time sugar received a recommended daily limit.

Although the new guidelines may be unsurprising, I suspect some of you may join me in wondering how to implement some of the suggestions into the everyday challenges we face to eat properly.

Still, the new federal dietary guidelines are accessible within a carefully written website that you can find in the 'start here' section of MedlinePlus.gov's nutrition health topic page.

To avoid confusion at restaurants, the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research provides a website on choosing healthier food options within the 'related issues' section of MedlinePlus.gov's nutrition health topic page.

The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics also provides insights about healthy eating for men and women within separate websites available in the 'women' and 'men' section of MedlinePlus.gov's nutrition health topic page.

MedlinePlus.gov's nutrition health topic page also provides links to the latest pertinent journal research articles, which are available in the 'journal articles' section. Links to clinical trials that may be occurring in your area are available in the 'clinical trials' section. You can sign up to receive updates about nutrition as they become available on MedlinePlus.gov.

To find MedlinePlus.gov's nutrition health topic page, please type 'nutrition' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page, then, click on 'nutrition (National Library of Medicine).' MedlinePlus.gov also has health topic pages devoted to: food labeling; nutrition for seniors, children, infants and newborns; dietary fats; as well as cholesterol.

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Please email the podcast staff anytime at: NLMDirector@nlm.nih.gov

A written transcript of recent podcasts is available by typing 'To your health' in the search box on MedlinePlus.gov's home page.

The National Library of Medicine is one of 27 institutes and centers within the National Institutes of Health. The National Institutes of Health is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

A disclaimer — the information presented in this program should not replace the medical advice of your physician. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any disease without first consulting with your physician or other health care provider.

It was nice to be with you. Please join us here next week and here's to your health!