After a food-filled Super Bowl Sunday, I thought it would be pertinent to delve into the new nutrition guidelines that the federal government announced earlier last week. And while chips and guacamole were the go-to game-day snack, eating less salt and fat-filled foods, and more fruits and veggies, is the main message of this year’s recommendations for the elderly.
Dietary guidelines are required by law to be updated every five years. They influence the health advice people get by nutritionists, as well as the nutrition information included on food labels.
This year’s guidelines are different from previous ones in that they focus more so on the growing obesity epidemic. Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University, praises the guidelines for their clarity in recognizing obesity as the number one public health problem in America, as more than two-thirds of adults are obese, the guidelines stated (aarp.com).
Reducing salt consumption is the number one recommendation for battling obesity. Older adults need to cut back to less than 1500 mg of salt per day.
Also in the guidelines for older adults is increasing the intake of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a common occurrence among people over the age of 65, and can cause weakness, confusion, depression, or fatigue. Fish, meat, and dairy products, as well as fortified cereals and vitamin supplements are all high in B12.
AARP.com summarizes some recommendations from 2011’s Nutrition Guidelines:
• Drink water instead of soda and other sugary drinks.
• Get more physical activity.
• Make fruits and vegetables half the food on your plate.
• Eat more seafood and fish in place of some meat and poultry.
• Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy products, or soymilk.
• Choose packaged food, like soup or crackers, with low amounts of sodium, fat and sugar.
• Avoid oversize portions.
• Eat less salty, fatty, sugary snack foods.