New Dietary Guidelines? Again??? How to Eat Healthy and Stay Sane

From the Record Searchlight Sunday, February 7, 2016. Mehmet Oz, M.D., host of the “Dr. Oz Show” and Mike Roizen, M.D., Chief Wellness Officer and Chair of Wellness Institute at Cleveland Clinic.

  • The USDA says: Have 2 1/2 cups of veggies and 2 cups of fruit every day.
  • We say: Aim higher. Most Americans don’t get enough of the basic nutrients found in produce: phytonutrients; fiber; vitamins, including A, C, D, and E, and folate; and minerals, including calcium and magnesium.
  • Smarter food Rule: Fill half your plate or bowl with fruit and vegetables at every meal. Produce helps you stay slim and helps guard against heart disease.


  • The USDA says: It’s OK to eat eggs, because cholesterol from food isn’t a health threat.
  • We say: Wrong! Egg yolks are still potent heart threats, but not because of the cholesterol. They contain lecithin, which boosts blood levels of a compound called TMAO. That stuffs your artery walls full of gunky, dangerous plaque.
  • Smarter food rule: Enjoy egg whites and egg white substitutes, and have no more than two egg yolks or whole eggs per week; none if you have 4 ounces of red meat or 6 ounces of pork that week.


  • The USDA says: Limit sodium to 2,300 mg per day or less.
  • We say: Wrong! Instead of counting sodium milligrams, fill up on fresh fruit and veggies, 100 percent whole grains, low- or no-fat dairy, good fats and lean protein.
  • Smarter food rule: We think the sodium issue pertains to folks with high blood pressure: For the approximately 0.5% of you who have what’s called salt-sensitive high blood pressure, excess salt intake is deadly. For the 60% of you who have diabetes, heart disease, or kidney problems, 1,500 mg is your recommended upper limit. But for everyone: Eating fresh and healthy foods will automatically lower your sodium intake (levels are sky-high in processed foods like canned soups, pasta sauces, frozen meals, packaged lunchmeats, fast food, and restaurant fare).


  • The USDA says: Go for a wide variety of healthy proteins, like fish, poultry, beans, dairy, and nuts. Limit saturated fat to 10% of calories, and limit meat.
  • We say: That’s wishy-washy! Avoid heart-harming processed meats, limit red meat to 4 ounces per week, and say no to saturated fat bombs like butter, full-fat diary, fatty meat, poultry skin, and creamy desserts.
  • Smarter food rule: Red meat delivers sat fat and carnitine, converted to heart-menacing TMAO in your body. Have healthy proteins and healthy fats like olive and canola oil, nuts, and avocado.


  • The USDA says: Keep added sugars to 10% of daily calories.
  • We say: Yikes! That’s 170 calories worth of sugar, if you eat 1,700 calories per day. Almost 4 tablespoons.
  • Smarter food rule: Steer clear of added sugars and syrups. These food felons increase risk for weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and possible some cancers. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a splash of fruit juice in seltzer or fresh fruit.


Make half your grains whole. Any food made from wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, or another cereal grain is a grain product. Bread, pasta, oatmeal, breakfast cereals, tortillas, and grits are examples. Grains are divided into two subgroups: whole grains and refined grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel–the bran, germ, and endosperm. People who eat whole grains as part of a healthy diet have a reduced risk of some chronic diseases. Here are 10 tips to help you eat whole grains:

  1. Make simple switches. To make half your grains whole grains, substitute a whole-grain product for a refined-grain product. For example, eat 100% whole-wheat bread or bagels, or brown rice instead of white rice.
  2. Whole grains can be a healthy snack. Popcorn, a whole grain, can be a healthy snack. Make it with little or no added salt or butter. Also, try 100% whole-wheat or rye crackers.
  3. Save some time. Cook extra bulgar or barley when you have time. Freeze half to heat and serve later as a quick side dish.
  4. Mix it up with whole grains. Use whole grains in mixed dishes, such as barley in vegetable soups or stews and bulgar wheat in casseroles or stir-fries. Try a quinoa salad or pilaf.
  5. Try whole wheat versions. For a change, try brown rice or whole-wheat pasta. Try brown rice stuffing in baked green peppers or tomatoes, and whole-wheat macaroni in macaroni and cheese.
  6. Bake up some whole-grain goodness. Experiment by substituting buckwheat, millet, or oat flour for up to half of the flour in pancake, waffle, muffin, or other flour-based recipes. They may need a bit more leavening in order to rise.
  7. Be a good role model for children. Set a good example for children by serving and eating whole grains every day with meals or as snacks.
  8. Check the label for fiber. Use the Nutrition Facts label to check the fiber content of whole-grain foods. Good sources of fiber contain 10% to 19% of the Daily Value; excellent sources contain 20% or more.
  9. Know what to look for on the ingredients list. Read the ingredients list and choose products that name a whole-grain ingredient first on the list. Look for “whole wheat”, “brown rice”,”bulgar”, “buckwheat”, “oatmeal”, “whole-grain cornmeal”, “whole oats”, “whole rye”, or “wild rice”.
  10. Be a smart shopper. The color of a food is not an indication that it is a whole-grain food. Foods labeled as “multi-grain”, “stone-ground”, “100% wheat”, “cracked wheat”, “seven-grain”, or “bran” are usually not 100% whole-grain products, and may not contain any whole grain.

The goal of Choose My Plate is not to give a specified dietary program to address any particular physical or health related condition. The goal is to help individuals make smarter food choices from each food group represented. To strike a balance between food and physical activity that helps to use the food for energy. To stay within suggested daily calorie needs and to get more nutrition form the calories you consume. Choose My Plate describes a healthy diet as one with a focus on:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruits
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Milk products, as well as whole grains

Choose My Plate food guidelines suggest more lean meat consumption, nuts, eggs, beans, fish, and poultry. It includes a diet that is low in Trans Fats, saturated fats, cholesterol, and added sugars and salts. Choose My Plate features Colors in My Plate that is made up of four sections with the colors orange, green, purple, and red, plus a side order in blue. Each color represents a specific food group. It provides certain nutritional benefits. This plate model shows the value of a varied diet with foods from each food group. Te purpose with this plan is to help people make healthier and smarter food choices.

  • Orange stands for the grain group–“Make at least half your grains whole.”
  • Green stands for the vegetable group–“Vary your vegetables.”
  • Red stands for the fruit group–“Focus on fruits.”
  • Purple stands for the protein foods group–“Go lean with protein.”
  • Blue stands for the dairy group–“Get your calcium rich foods.”


15 Easy Ways to Eat Healthier

  1. Dates are a great way to naturally sweeten smoothies and shakes.
  2. Put fruit compote on pancakes or waffles instead of butter and syrup.
  3. Upgrade sandwiches by spreading them with avocado instead of mayonnaise.
  4. Swap crispy baked zucchini for the usual fries.
  5. Snack on frozen grapes instead of candy or cookies.
  6. Cut the fat in dip way down by using Greek yogurt.
  7. Use Greek or regular yogurt instead of mayonnaise in tuna, chicken, and egg salad.
  8. Use potatoes or cashews (instead of cream) to make blended soups smooth and creamy.
  9. Use oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs to make healthier meatballs and meatloaf.
  10. Peel zucchini into ribbons to make healthy veggie spaghetti.
  11. You can thinly slice zucchini or eggplant to make past-free lasagna.
  12. Try using lettuce to wrap tacos instead of tortillas.
  13. Avocado is a great substitute for  butter in baking.
  14. Applesauce can replace oil (and some sugar) to make healthier cakes.
  15. Instead of drinking soda, add cucumber, lemon, or mint to carbonated water.