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Nutrition

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Good Nutrition Benefits and Facts

Many Americans consume more calories than they need without meeting recommended intakes for good nutrition. This circumstance means that most people need to choose meals and snacks that are high in nutrients but low to moderate in energy content; that is, meeting good nutritional recommendations must go hand in hand with keeping calories under control. Doing so offers important good nutrition benefits, normal growth and development of children, health promotion for people of all ages, and reduction of risk for a number of chronic diseases that are major public health problems.

Good Nutrition Facts

Good nutrition based on dietary intake data or evidence of public health problems, intake levels of the following nutrients may be of concern for:

  • Adults: calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamins A (as carotenoids), C, and E,
  • Children and adolescents: calcium, potassium, fiber, magnesium, and vitamin E,
  • Specific population groups (see below): vitamin B12, iron, folic acid, and vitamins E and D.
If you consider supplementing you diet with vitamins and minerals I recommend Wonder Laboratories for the overall best quality and price.

At the same time, in general, Americans consume too many calories and too much saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, and salt.

Nutrient-dense foods are those foods that provide substantial amounts of vitamins and minerals (micronutrients) and relatively few calories. Foods that are low in nutrient density are foods that supply calories but relatively small amounts of micronutrients, sometimes none at all. The greater the consumption of foods or beverages that are low in nutrient density, the more difficult it is to consume enough nutrients without gaining weight, especially for sedentary individuals. The consumption of added sugars, saturated and trans fats, and alcohol provides calories while providing little, if any, of the essential nutrients.

"I have trouble chewing."
"Food just doesn’t taste the same anymore."
"I don’t have a car to go shopping."
"It’s hard to cook for one person."
"I’m just not that hungry anymore."

Good Nutrition: It’s A Way of Life

Food provides energy and nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water. As you grow older, you may need less energy from what you eat. But, you still need just as many of the nutrients in food. Nutrition experts can recommend what the average older person needs to eat, but you should also check with your doctor or a registered dietitian, a specialist trained in nutrition. This is especially true if you have a health problem that limits what you should eat. They can help you plan meals that will include the healthy foods you need without the foods you should avoid.

What Should I Eat?

Choose many different healthy foods. Pick those that are lower in fat, especially saturated fat (mostly in foods that come from animals), and cholesterol. Eat or drink only small amounts of sugary or salty foods, and alcoholic drinks, if you drink them at all. Avoid "empty calories" as much as you can. These are foods like sodas, potato chips, and cookies that have a lot of calories, but not many nutrients.

Calories are a way to measure the energy you get from food. If you eat more calories than your body needs, you could gain weight. If you are not active, choose lower calorie foods and eat the smallest number of servings suggested for each of the five food groups (See below). If you are active, you should eat more servings for more calories. The calorie counts for most packaged foods are listed in the Nutrition Facts part of the label or package.

How Much Should I Eat?


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