Utah Department of Health    Women, Infants and Children

Topic 1 - Choosing Foods Wisely

The government has developed tools to help us make wise food choices.  The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, MyPyramid and the Nutrition Facts label help consumers to make informed decisions about what to put into our bodies.


Section A:  The Dietary Guidelines 2010















Key Recommendations of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans


Balancing calories to manage weight


· Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity behaviors.


· Control total calorie intake to manage body weight. For people who are overweight or obese, this will mean consuming fewer calories from foods and beverages.


· Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.


· Maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life—childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and older age.


Foods and food components to reduce


· Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children, and the majority of adults.


· Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.


· Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.


· Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats.


· Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.


· Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium.


· If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.


Foods and nutrients to increase


Individuals should meet the following recommendations as part of a healthy eating pattern while staying within their calorie needs.

· Increase vegetable and fruit intake.

· Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas.

· Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by        replacing refined grains with whole grains.

· Increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt,        cheese, or fortified soy beverages.

· Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry,        eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.

· Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place        of some meat and poultry.

· Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in        solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.

· Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.

· Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D,        which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables,        fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.



Last edited 5/2011.

These guidelines are published every 5 years by a joint effort of the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and the HHS (Department of Health and Human Services). The Dietary Guidelines provide authoritative advice for people 2 years and older about how proper dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. The 2010 Dietary Guidelines focus on balancing calories with physical activity, and encourage Americans to consume more healthy foods.  The Dietary Guidelines are intended to be a resource for health professionals.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 - cover