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Eating for a Healthy Life By Sheila Jones, MS, RD, LD Dietary Guidelines for Americans Aim for Fitness Aim for a healthy weight Be physically active each day Build a Healthy Base Let the Pyramid guide your food choices Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains

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Eating for a Healthy Life


Sheila Jones, MS, RD, LD

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Dietary Guidelines for Americans

  • Aim for Fitness

  • Aim for a healthy weight

  • Be physically active each day

  • Build a Healthy Base

  • Let the Pyramid guide your food choices

  • Choose a variety of grains daily, especially whole grains

  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables daily

  • Keep food safe to eat

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Dietary Guidelines for Americans

  • Choose Sensibly

  • Choose a diet that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol and moderate in total fat

  • Choose beverages and foods to moderate your intake of sugars

  • Choose and prepare foods with less salt

  • If you drink alcoholic beverages, do so in moderation

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Common Recommendations

  • Dietary Guidelines, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, American Diabetes Association, National Research Council:

  • Saturated fat < 10% of kcal

  • Polyunsaturated fat < 10% of kcal

  • Dietary cholesterol < 300 mg/day

  • Carbohydrates > 55% of kcal

  • Energy intake to achieve and maintain healthy weight

  • Sodium intake < 2400 mg/day (1)

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American Institute for Cancer Research

  • 1997 - Expert panel of scientists reviewed > 4,500 research studies and published the most comprehensive report ever concerning diet, nutrition, and cancer

  • The report shows that 30-40% of all cancers could be prevented through changing how we eat and exercise

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Diet and Health Guidelines for Cancer Prevention

  • Choose a diet rich in a variety of plant-based foods

  • Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits

  • Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active

  • Drink alcohol only in moderation if at all

  • Select foods low in fat and salt

  • Prepare and store food safely

    And always remember…

    Do not use tobacco in any form

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The New American Plate

  • 2/3 or more of the plate should be covered by plant-based foods – vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans

    – 1 or more vegetables or fruits and not just grain products

  • 1/3 or less of the plate should be covered by meat, fish, poultry, or low-fat dairy

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Vegetables and Fruits

  • 5 or more servings of vegetables and fruits each day

  • Research suggests this one dietary change could prevent as many as 20% of all cancers

  • Vegetables and fruits provide vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals

  • Variety is important to get the widest array – dark green, deep orange, citrus

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Other Plant-based Foods

  • 7 or more servings of other plant-based foods such as whole grains and legumes

  • Whole grains are higher in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals than refined grains

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Meat on the Side

  • Choose lean cuts of red meat and limit yourself to no more than 3 oz. per day

  • AICR’s report shows that diets high in red meat probably increase the risk of colon cancer

  • Poultry, fish, and game do not have the same impact and no limits have been set; keep portions small enough to be able to eat an abundance of plant-based foods

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How Does It Look Again?

  • Stir-fry is the kind of meal that belongs on the New American Plate

  • Bursting with colorful vegetables, hearty grains, and cancer- fighting vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals

  • Red meat, poultry, or seafood is used as a condiment to add flavor and texture

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How Does This Impact Weight Control?

  • It is about calories, not a magic protein vs. carbohydrate formula

  • Obesity became an epidemic in the U.S. at the same time portion sizes grew

  • Now “value meals” and “super sizes” are commonplace

  • Average calorie intake per day of Americans has risen from 1,854 to 2,002 over the last 20 years – 148 calories/day, which is estimated to add an extra 15 pounds per year (2)

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National Weight Control Registry

  • Developed at Brown Medical School

  • Studied > 3,000 American adults who lost an average of 60 pounds and kept it off for an average of 6 years

  • How do they do it?

  • Successful losers report 4 common behaviors:

  • Eat a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet

  • They monitor themselves by weighing

  • They are very physically active (> 1 hour/day)

  • They eat breakfast (3)

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Weight Loss

  • The 1st step is setting a realistic goal and determine what is a healthy weight for you

  • Weight reductions of 5-15% reduce risk factors for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension

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Weight Loss

  • Remember the New American Plate?

  • It features more food and fewer calories (the real culprit)

  • Eating meals with plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and beans will make you feel more satisfied and help keep your weight in a healthy range

  • A diet based on these foods can help prevent cancer, heart disease, diabetes mellitus, stroke, hypertension, and other debilitating conditions

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Hallmarks of Unhealthy Diets

  • They promote quick weight loss – loss of muscle and water

  • They limit food selections and dictate specific rituals

  • They use testimonials from famous people and tie the diet to well-know cities

  • They bill themselves as cure-alls

  • They often recommend supplements

  • No attempts are made to change eating habits permanently

  • They are generally critical of and skeptical about the scientific community (4)

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The Final Message

  • There is NO need to follow the latest diet trend

  • Keep an eye on the kinds of food on your plate and the size of portions

  • Enjoy the wonderful variety of healthy foods with which God has blessed us

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  • 1. Lee RD and Nieman DC. Nutritional Assessment. 2003;33-40.

  • 2. American Institute for Cancer Research Newsletter, November 2000;3-22.

  • 3. FDA Consumer, January/February 2002; 18-25.

  • 4. Wardlaw GM and Kessel M. Perspectives in Nutrition. 2002;557.

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Web Sites

  • USDA nutrition information –

  • Dietary Guidelines for Americans via the Nutritional Assessment web site –

  • American Institute for Cancer Research -

  • American Dietetic Association –

  • Web Dietitian –

  • Weight-control Information Network –