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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are part of a science-based system to provide the most up-to-date advice about diet and health in the United States. The 2005 guidelines recommend eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, low fat dairy and meats, whole grains, and healthy fats within caloric needs while limiting intake of unhealthy fats, added sugars, sodium and alcohol.(1) People who follow the dietary guidelines are at lower risk for overweight and obesity, and chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular disease.(2,3,4,5) However, the diets of most Washington residents vary substantially from the recommendations.
Families and individuals choose diets that reflect the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, when they have:
Although dietary advice and interventions to increase nutrition knowledge, motivation, and cooking skills can help people eat better, dietary intake is also strongly influenced by social, economic, and cultural factors.(6) Most people base their food choices on taste, cost, and convenience.(7) Many foods recommended in the dietary guidelines, like whole grains and some fruits and vegetables, are more expensive than highly processed foods that have sugar and fat as main ingredients. Foods like fresh and attractive fruits and vegetables may be harder to find in low-income neighborhoods. The following recommendations can help individuals and families make healthy food choices.
See Appendix G: For Information on Defining Healthy Foods.
The following recommendations can help individuals and families make healthy food choices.