Shift six food choices and reduce your risk of chronic disease

Shifting the foods you consume can help you maintain a more nutrient balanced diet.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture about three-fourths of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy and oils. More than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations. An eating pattern represents the total of what individuals habitually eat and drink and what dietary components act together in relation to health. As a result, an eating pattern may be more predictive of overall health status and disease risk than individual foods or nutrients. Most Americans exceed the recommendations for added sugars, saturated fats and sodium. Food selections and amounts are the major factor in developing a healthy food pattern. Making six food choice shifts over time can result in huge improvements in your weight and health.

Michigan State University Extension suggest that people follow the 2015-2020 eating guidelines which recommends that we shift food choices from:

  1. High calorie snacks to nutrient-dense snacks. Shift to decrease calories (sugar, fat and high calorie protein) in your diet.
  2. Fruit products with added sugar to whole fresh fruit. Shift to whole fruit which contain less sugar and calories than products with sugar added.
  3. Refined grains to whole grains. Shift to whole grains that have not been overly processed like refined grains. Whole grains are high in major nutrients and fiber which is needed for a healthy digestive system.
  4. Snacks with added sugar to unsalted snacks. Shift to choosing unsalted snacks that are healthy snacks, not sugar laden snacks and high in carbohydrates and calories.
  5. Solid fats (which aren’t heart-healthy and can cause heart disease) to healthy oils. Shift to cooking with oils that are either polyunsaturated or monounsaturated. These oils are better to use in cooking and are heart-healthy.
  6. Beverages with added sugar to no sugar added beverages. Shift to limiting sugary beverages in your eating pattern as a way to decrease extra calories that can lead to weight gain and obesity.

According to the USDA Executive Summary, there is a large body of evidence which now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. 

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