East Texas diet experts weigh in on new Food Pyramid

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Morgan Chesky - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - The Food Pyramid of old provided healthy guidelines for us to follow, but now health experts say if you're using it as a guide still, you could be on a slippery slope. The USDA has just released the latest set of National Dietary Guidelines, including some big cutbacks to cut down on obesity.

It suggested that you stay away from the sweet and salty, keep the grains coming and eat plenty of fruits and veggies.

"I kind of use it as a casual guideline," said Walter Carter. "I have cut back on sweets and some salt."

"I don't really pay attention," said Kristen Bjork. "I just try to eat nutritionally healthy."

Now, the USDA is telling America to pay attention with its new guidelines, reconstructing the pyramid of old.

"It does give people more of a better decision making process and what they're going to eat," said Clinical Dietician Tami Lawrence. "Two things that really stand out are the saturated fat and the sodium content."

The nutrition culprits that experts say help 70% of Americans contract diabetes, heart disease, or battle obesity. To solve the problem our daily intake for saturated fats is cut from 10% to 7% and trans fat is cut from 1% to .5%. You can almost say goodbye to salt. The old 2300 milligram guideline is now 1500 - a number once reserved strictly for high risk people.

Is this too ambitious?

"It sounds ambitious, but it is achievable and sometimes people just making small steps in their diets...can actually help them accomplish and maintain," said Lawrence.

There were no changes in cholesterol, protein, or carbohydrate consumption, but the new pyramid asks consumers to focus on nutrient rich instead of energy dense foods.

"Just making the small changes can greatly affect the total outcome," advised Lawrence.

But, it's an outcome completely dependent upon whether America buys into it.

"It's hard to give up the meat completely," said Carter. "A man's gotta have a cheeseburger now and then."

"There's going to be a lot of people not looking for change and a lot of people are looking for change, and I'm one of the people looking for change," said Jacqueline Bagley.

If you are looking to improve your health, experts say to keep away from the extreme dieting and focus on increasing your intake of lean proteins like turkey or seafood and fruits and vegetables.

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