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What Do I Need to Limit in My Diet?

The food and beverages that you consume have a profound impact on your health. Recently, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released to help you make good nutrition decisions.

In some cases, we need to eat more. Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are in the “eat more” category. Other food components need to be limited, including added sugars, saturated fat, sodium and alcohol.

Added sugars: less than 10% of calories per day
Major sources of added sugars are sugar-sweetened beverages, desserts and candy, which you have the potential to reduce through consuming small portions and/or selecting options that are low in added sugars.

Saturated fat: less than 10% of calories per day
With saturated fats having a similar recommendation, researchers have found that only 23% of individuals consume saturated fats consistent with the limit set by the Dietary Guidelines. The main sources of saturated fats include burgers, tacos, desserts, pasta and rice. One strategy to lower your consumption of saturated fats is reading the food label and choosing foods and beverages that contain the lower fat forms.

Sodium: less than 2,300 milligrams per day
The limit for sodium was established due to the evidence that a reduced sodium intake can benefit cardiovascular risk and hypertension risk. Sodium is found in foods from almost all food categories due to its functions as a thickening agent or preservative. Because of this, you need to make careful choices to reduce sodium intake, such as eating at home more often and/or using herbs and spices instead of salt to add flavor to your meals.

Alcoholic beverages: 2 drinks or less per day for men and 1 drink or less per day for women
The Dietary Guidelines do not recommend that individuals who do not drink alcohol start drinking for any reason. Excess alcohol consumption can increase your risk of liver and cardiovascular disease and may increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

If you do choose to drink, you need to limit daily intakes to the above recommendations and consider the calories being consumed from alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages supply calories but few nutrients, typically leading to excess calorie consumption.

Source: Based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.


By Alexandra Jones, NDSU Extension Dietetic Intern
Reviewed by Julie Garden-Robinson, Food and Nutrition Specialist

Filed under: fca newsletter, fca news

Sponsored in part by the Sanford Health Foundation.

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