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Diet Advice That Has Stayed the Same for Over Three Decades

Diet trends come and go so fast that it’s no wonder people get confused about what constitutes “healthy food” these days. Luckily, not every piece of advice is a fad: the Washington Post recently reported on five dietary guidelines with staying power:

  • Variety is your friend. Since 1980, the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Dietary Guidelines for Americans has recommended eating a variety of foods to ensure you get all the nutrients you need. Even if you choose a vegan or paleo diet, you can still eat across a variety of food groups to get essential nutrients. If you need help, a nutritionist can be a great resource.
  • Feast on fruits and veggies. This advice goes back to 1917, when fruits and vegetables were first designated as a recommended food group in the inaugural USDA food guide. Fast forward to 2017 and researchers have found associations between eating fruits and vegetables and a host of health benefits, including a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease. Current advice recommends filling half your plate with a combination of fruits and vegetables at every meal, and, with all the delicious ways to prepare them—raw, roasted, or steamed, for example—this shouldn’t be too hard.
  • Fiber-full meals are smart. The 1980 Dietary Guidelines recommended fiber for colon health and that advice remains in place today. Research has also found eating enough fiber may reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. To get your daily 25 grams (for women) or 38 grams (for men) of fiber, look to beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
  • Cut the junk. The 1979 USDA food guide was the first to put the public on notice to limit junk food, but the Washington Post reports that the term “junk food” first appeared as early as the 1940s. And that advice is here to stay—foods such as cake, candy, chips, and soda, and others high in fats, sugar, salt, and calories have little nutritional value and have been associated with an increased risk of depression and obesity.
  • Drink in moderation. Since the 1980 Dietary Guidelines, women have been advised to limit themselves to one drink per day and men have been advised to stop at two. Today, we know excessive alcohol consumption is associated with liver damage, immune dysfunction, and certain cancers, among other health problems. So, if you do drink, toast to your health and do so in moderation.

Source: Washington Post

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