For National Nutrition Month, The Academy Offers Advice on Reducing Sugar, Sodium and Saturated Fats to 'Savor the Flavor of Eating Right'

January 26, 2016

CHICAGO – For National Nutrition Month® 2016, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages everyone to learn how to "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right" while still following a healthy eating pattern.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend limiting the amounts of added sugar, sodium and saturated fats that you eat. The guidelines state that the majority of Americans follow a diet that is too high in these components.

"During National Nutrition Month and beyond, make an effort to cut back on food and beverages high in added sugar, sodium and saturated fats," says registered dietitian nutritionist and Academy spokesperson Lisa Cimperman. "Take the time to find creative, healthful and nutritious ways to add flavor to food."

Sugar

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 10 percent of your calories per day from added sugars. "Choose foods and beverages with no added sugar whenever possible," Cimperman says. According to Cimperman:

  • Read food labels and avoid buying foods with added sugars like high fructose corn syrup, dried cane syrup, evaporated cane juice, invert sugar, molasses, sucrose, brown rice syrup, honey, agave or maple syrup.
  • Drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk and 100-percent fruit or vegetable juice instead of sugary beverages.
  • Choose snacks with no added sugar. For example, eat plain yogurt instead of flavored yogurt with whole fruits such as berries or pears.
  • Grill fruits such as pineapple or peaches for a naturally sweet and healthier dessert.
  • Eat smaller dessert portions. Often a bite or two will satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sodium

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. "Most sodium consumed in the United States comes from salts added during commercial food processing and preparation," Cimperman says. "Because sodium is found in so many foods, careful choices are needed to reduce your sodium intake."

According to Cimperman:

  • Use the Nutrition Facts label to compare sodium content of foods and choose products with less sodium.
  • Buy frozen or canned products without added salt.
  • Buy fresh poultry, seafood, pork and lean meat rather than processed meat and poultry.
  • Cook meals from scratch to control the sodium content of dishes.
  • Buy fewer jarred sauces and pre-flavored products.
  • Flavor foods with citrus, herbs and spices instead of salt.

Saturated Fats

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines recommend reducing saturated fat intake to less than 10 percent of calories per day. "It's important to understand the different types of fats, and reduce your intake of saturated fats by replacing them with unsaturated fats," Cimperman says. According to Cimperman:

  • Saturated fat is found in foods such as meats, whole milk, cream, butter and cheese. Unsaturated fat, which includes polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat, is found in foods like oils, fatty fish, nuts and seeds.
  • Drink fat-free or low-fat milk (1-percent) instead of 2-percent or whole milk, and eat low-fat cheese instead of regular cheese, oils instead of butter and lean rather than fatty cuts of meat.

The Academy's website (eatright.org) includes helpful articles, recipes, videos and educational resources to spread the message of good nutrition and an overall healthy lifestyle for people of all ages, genders and backgrounds. Consumers are also encouraged to follow National Nutrition Month on the Academy's social media channels including Facebook and Twitter using the #NationalNutritionMonth hashtag.

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The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. The Academy is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy. Visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics at eatright.org.