Eating for Healthy Aging: New 2015 Dietary Guidelines!

Healthy AgingWe’re all familiar with the infamous Food Pyramid – the infographic of dietary guidelines that showed us so clearly from top to bottom the foods we should limit, and those we should consume more of. The dietary world was rocked in 2010, however, when that familiar pyramid was replaced with MyPlate. Hopefully you haven’t become too attached to that dietary infographic either, however, as it’s just been announced that it’s now obsolete as well!

Although it’s not official just yet, the Dietary Advisory Committee has released initial recommendations for maximizing healthy eating in 2015 and beyond. In a nutshell:

  • Reduce consumption of:
    • Salt
    • Sugar
    • Saturated fat
    • Refined grains
    • Red meats
  • Add more:
    • Fruits
    • Vegetables (particularly kale)
    • Whole grains
    • Fiber
    • Dairy products

Surprisingly, the committee also negates the previously held belief that cholesterol consumption should be minimized, stating, “Cholesterol is not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption.”

Food experts have mixed reviews on the new guidelines. In Nina Teicholz’s book The Big Fat Surprise, the author takes specific exception, naturally, to the reduction of fat. In her opinion, “Avoid­ing fats has led to eat­ing more car­bo­hy­drates — 25% more since adopt­ing the low-fat diet — and this shift (not only to more sugar but also more whole grains and fruit) has led to today’s dia­betes and obe­sity epidemics.”

And refuting the panel’s suggested reduction of red meat, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association states, “Unfor­tu­nately, the report is incon­sis­tent, and if adopted will lead to con­flict­ing dietary advice. On one hand, the Com­mit­tee has endorsed the Mediter­ranean style diet, which has higher red meat lev­els than cur­rently con­sumed in the U.S.; and on the other hand, they have left lean meat out of what they con­sider to be a healthy dietary pattern.”

The Mediterranean style diet has been linked by many experts to longevity, and includes a menu rich in fruits, veggies, nuts, beans, peas, whole grains, olive oil, and a glass of red wine with dinner! It includes lesser amounts of dairy, red meat and saturated fats.

The bottom line, according to Texas physician Dr. Richard Thorpe, is moderation; combining a healthy, active lifestyle with a balance of the healthy foods you enjoy eating. Eating healthfully in moderation and staying active are still the most important components of staying healthy and aging well.

While we wait for the latest guidelines to become official, we at Nightingale Homecare will continue to provide our Arizona senior home care clients with nutritious meals, served with a smile and the friendly companionship of our top notch caregivers. We’ll even shop for all the ingredients beforehand and clean up afterwards!

If your senior loved ones could benefit from our professional Phoenix senior care services, contact us at 602-504-1555 to allow us to answer any questions you may have and to schedule a free in-home assessment.