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Healthy Weight Center > Nutrition > Pyramid Watch 8/04: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Pyramid Watch: Latest Recommendations (cont.)


The panel shaved the recommendation for salt, saying the goal should be less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium each day rather than 2,400 milligrams each day. A teaspoon of salt has about 2,300 milligrams of sodium.

"The vast majority of the U.S. population consumes too much salt, much of it from processed foods," the panel concluded. "Reducing salt intake is one of several ways that people can lower their blood pressure. Reducing blood pressure, ideally to the normal range, reduces the chance of developing a stroke, heart disease, heart failure and kidney disease."

The panel suggested people closely read the Nutrition Facts labels on packaged foods.

Go Whole Grain

The panel shone a spotlight on whole grains, recommending that Americans eat at least three one-ounce servings of whole-grain foods, such as whole wheat, oatmeal, popcorn, bulgur and brown rice, each day, preferably in place of refined grains.

Whole grains are important sources of 14 nutrients, and diets rich in whole grains can reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes, and may help with weight control, the panel noted.

Eat a Rainbow of Fruits and Vegetables

Americans should eat more fruits and vegetables, the panel determined, and set a baseline of four-and-a-half cups a day for a 2,000-calorie-a-day diet. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases the risk of heart disease and certain cancers, and the potassium in fruit can help control blood pressure.

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