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Family Times
Wednesday, February 9, 2011 • Posted February 9, 2011

New Dietary Guidelines Released

This week, the USDA sent out the new dietary guidelines in a 112 page document. To save you a bit of trouble, here is the short version. This is pretty much common sense stuff but it just because we know it’s true doesn’t mean we follow it! So they are reminding us again...

Balance Calories-

Enjoy your food, but eat less.

Avoid portions that are too large.

Foods to Increase-

Fill half of your dinner plate with fruits and vegetables.

Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.

Foods to Reduce-

Choose foods with less sodium content by reading the Nutrition Facts label.

Drink water instead of sugary drinks.

On that note, here is a study that talks about how parents often think sports drinks are a healthy choice for kids:

The bottom line for sports drinks is that they should be reserved for vigorous exercise of an hour or more, for kids or adults. You’ll save money and calories by sticking with plain old water.

Sugary sports drinks often mistaken as healthy

"Sports drinks have been successfully marketed as beverages consistent with a healthy lifestyle, which has set them apart from sodas. However they have minimal fruit juice and contain unnecessarycalories," said Nalini Ranjit, lead researcher and associate professor of behavioral sciences at the UTHealth School of Public Health.

"Children and parents associate these drinks with a healthy lifestyle despite their increased amount of sugar and lack of nutritional value." In particular, the researchers found that black children consumed less soda than white or Hispanic children, but that their level of sports drink consumption was 'significantly higher.' For boys of all ethnicities, those who participated in sports and vigorous physical activity tended to consume more sports drinks and less soda than those who were less active.

Researchers found that 28 percent of children in the study sample consumed three or more sugar-sweetened beverages a day.

"High levels of consumption of these beverages has the potential to increase weight gain," said Ranjit. "Drinking just one can of soda or other sugary beverage a day could lead to more than a ten-pound weight gain in a year." The researchers said that sports drinks should be reserved for 'extreme exercise', and otherwise children should rehydrate with water.

"Consumption of FSBs [flavored and sports beverages] coexists with healthy dietary and physical activity behaviors, which suggests popular misperception of these beverages as being consistent with a healthy lifestyle," the authors concluded. "Assessment and obesity-prevention efforts that target sugar-sweetened beverages need to distinguish between FSBs and sodas."

Source: Pediatrics article, "Dietary and Activity Correlates of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption Among Adolescents"

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