Living well Your Health & Wellness

Change your diet, improve your health

The USDA Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee explains that about half of adults in the U.S–117 million people–have diet-related health problems, including at least one preventable chronic disease. Not surprisingly, changing your diet, can improve your health. Physical activity is also key.

As much as possible, get your nutrition from unprocessed foods rich in vitamins, minerals and fibers, not from supplements. Whole fruits are better than fruit juice.  In particular, blueberries, apples and grapes have been associated with lower risk of type 2 diabetes. And, try to minimize eating foods and drinks with saturated fats, added sugar, high sodium content and high in calories, with the exception of modest amounts of those with mostly healthy, unsaturated fats like those found in olive oil, nuts, and avocados. Healthy eating patterns are key.

At the end of the day, the best advice is what we continue to hear: Eat a balanced diet rich in whole foods, fruits and veggies, as well as whole grains. A good balanced healthy diet can help prevent obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. For more advice, please read my post on why eating more plants is associated with significant reductions in your risk of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Some of this is laid out in the latest U.S. dietary guidelines. But some experts question the guidelines as a product of industry influence and not backed by good science. For example, the World Health Organization advises that processed meat is linked to colorectal cancer and that red meat is a likely carcinogen. But, the U.S. dietary guidelines don’t speak to this.

Congress has commissioned the National Academy of Medicine to conduct an independent review of the evidence this year. For now, for the scientific evidence, take a look at the Scientific Report from the expert Advisory Committee, on which the U.S. dietary guidelines are in part based.

 

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