You may think you’re eating healthy, balanced meals, but a recent survey suggests 94% of Americans don’t meet dietary recommendations. Here’s how to make sure you don’t fall into the nutritional gap.
The Nutrition Myth
You eat right. You exercise. But you’re probably not getting the proper nutrition, according to a recent survey by ORC International on behalf of MegaFood, a nutritional supplement company. Your good health may be a myth!
Approximately 67% of American adults believe they are getting all of the nutrients in their daily diet necessary to maintain overall health. However, the 2017 survey found that 62% of adults in the U.S. only consume 1-2 fruits and vegetable per day (when the daily recommended amount is between 2-3 cups of fruits and vegetables per day), and only three in five adults take a multivitamin.
Tieraona Low Dog, M.D, a natural health expert and the author of National Geographic’s Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals, and More, believes our good intentions to eat well just aren’t enough: “My experience consistently shows me that a large number of Americans live high-carb, high-sugar, caffeine-overloaded, stressed-out, no-exercise lives. … Even when we do our best to eat well, it is extremely difficult to get all the nutrients we need on a regular basis with diet alone.”
For example, as part of a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) identified that 30 million Americans are deficient in vitamin B6, a nutrient found in spinach, bananas and sweet potatoes, which supports adrenal function, a healthy nervous system and key metabolic processes.
It turns out that where most of us think we’re doing well, we’re actually falling flat.
When the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion released its most recent Healthy Eating Index in 2010, which measures the diet quality of the U.S. population in conformance to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, it rated the nation 59 out of 100. That’s a failing grade!
It’s no wonder diet-related chronic disease rates for obesity, heart disease and type 2 diabetes have risen over the last 25 years and remain high.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans
To help keep Americans healthy, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the USDA released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (8th edition), providing nutrition guidance from health professionals for Americans age 2 and older to help maintain optimal health.
“By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes more manageable,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell in a USDA press release.
The new dietary guidelines focus on healthy eating patterns as a whole, including consuming a variety of nutrient-dense foods, including:
- A variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds
- Oils, including those from plants (canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower) and those present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados
The USDA guidelines also recommend limiting calories from added sugars, saturated fats and sodium, specifically:
- Less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
- Less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
- Less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium for people over the age of 14 years and less for those younger
Learn how to make more food choices for health and good nutrition in this blog.
Meeting nutrient requirements can be even more difficult for vegetarians. Here are some tips on how to make sure you’re covered.
Eat Well, Feel Well
Feeling overwhelmed? Start small.
Making small shifts in your food choices over the course of a week, a day, or even for one meal can make a difference in working toward a healthy eating pattern that works for you. Before you eat, check out ChooseMyPlate.gov for tips on how to eat healthy on a budget; get nutrition tips for moms-to-be, kids, adults and seniors; learn about portion control and more.
When in doubt, eat the rainbow! Try to choose options from all the colors of the rainbow for your fruits and veggies. By varying the colors you eat, you’ll be getting a more diverse spectrum of the nutrients you need for optimal health. These foods should fill half of your plate per meal.
When getting all of your daily nutrients by eating a healthy diet is not realistic, supplementation may help fill dietary gaps.
One easy thing you can do to improve your nutrient intake on a daily basis is to take whole food multivitamins, which deliver essential vitamins and minerals to help keep you healthy and fill any nutrient gaps left from your diet.
Natural Healthy Concepts proudly offers a wide selection of whole food multivitamins from Innate Response and MegaFood that offer 70% or more of the suggested daily value intake of key nutrients based on recommendations for optimal dietary supplementation. These multivitamins are formulated for men and women during various stages of life, including options for people who are vegetarian, gluten-free or have other sensitivities. Check out the amazing selection of supplements today!
In addition to good nutrition and dietary supplementation, don’t forget to get active! In addition to getting good nutrition, it’s also important to keep your body lean and strong so it can maintain optimal health by participating in regular exercise.
The CDC reports many benefits of physical activity, including weight management, supporting heart health, maintaining strong bones and muscles, supporting a healthy mood and emotional state, promoting an active life even into late adulthood and much more.
According to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, “adults need at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity each week and should perform muscle-strengthening exercises on two or more days each week. Children ages 6 to 17 years need at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day, including aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities.”
Not sure what exercise is right for you? Brisk walking is safe for most people, according to the CDC.
So it turns out that maintaining good health is simple. Good nutrition, dietary supplements and regular exercise may all contribute to your well-being. Start making small changes to improve your health today!
Do you meet the new American dietary guidelines for nutrition? Share your comments below.