- Dietary patterns are more important than specific foods. According to Tufts Professor Alice Lichtenstein, we need to stop thinking of foods in isolation. People need help to put together a healthy dietary pattern. Look at the whole picture at once. A healthy dietary pattern can and should taste good.According to her report, a “healthy dietary pattern is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low or non-fat diary, seafood, legumes and nuts. It should be moderate in alcohol, lower in red and processed meats, and low in sugar sweetened foods and drinks and refined grains. Emphasis is more on type of fat in your diet.
- Cholesterol in foods is not the main culprit in unhealthy blood cholesterol–saturated fat is. The major focus needs to be on replacing saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat.
- Drinking coffee is safe and may even be good for you. Experts noted in observational studies that coffee intake is associated with lower type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. This doesn’t mean to start drinking coffee if you don’t already and it doesn’t include cream and sugar. Also, it is not known whether the benefits are due to the caffeine or to phytochemicals in coffee, so chugging caffeine laced “energy drinks” is not recommended.
- Cut down on added sugars. More and more data is coming in on the adverse health effects of added sugar. There is no benefit from a high level of intake and there are risks.
- Eating more plants is better for you and the planet. A diet that emphasizes more plant foods and less meat is “more health promoting and is associated with less environmental impact.’
It is important to incorporate physical activity your lifestyle and limit saturated fat, trans fat and sodium. Americans are still falling short on vitamin D, calcium, fiber and potassium. This full report can be read online at www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015-scientific-report