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June 23, 2024

Where Every Family Matters

Your Diet May Be Killing You & Your Kids

They say kids are what they eat. The USDA's new guidelines don't really hold any big surprises, but you can still make improvements on your family's diet.

A new study reveals one in five deaths is associated with poor diets — equivalent to 11 million deaths! "While sodium, sugar, and fat have been the focus of policy debates over the past two decades, our assessment suggests the leading dietary risk factors are high intake of sodium, or low intake of healthy foods, such as whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, and vegetables," says study author Dr Christopher Murray, Director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, University of Washington. Which is alarming considering our kids are following in our footsteps.

They don’t like saturated fat, they don’t like sugar and now protein’s on the chopping block as far as the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is concerned. Every five years there are new USDA dietary guidelines, so that’s not new, but cutting back on protein for teen boys IS. Especially when teen boys just want to bulk up. The new recommendation is that boys ages 14 – 18 consume only 52g of protein daily (46g for girls this age). It's even less for younger kids, too — ages 1 – 3 is 13g, ages 4 – 8 is 19g, and ages 9 – 13 is 34g.

As usual, lean meats, fruits and vegetables provide the way to healthy eating and slimmer waistlines. Eating or drinking too much sugar will make you fat — this isn’t rocket science — but obesity still prevails in a world filled with delicious sweets and tasty sauces. Here’s what to know about new recommendations:


Considering that one medium white chocolate mocha from Starbucks has a whopping 570 calories in it, the USDA’s previous recommendation of 200 calories a day from sugar seems scant. But the recommendation is part of a larger push to help people isolate added sugars from naturally occurring ones like those in fruit and milk. Added sugars generally put empty calories in a diet.

Heres the truth: refined sugar is a toxin, and since kids consume a lot of sweet stuff (soda, juice, sports drinks, treats, candy), the USDA always suggests limiting it. They now recommend that kids' conumption of added sugars and saturated fats be less than 10 percent of calories per day. You can help your kids in one significant way: replace the juice or soda at home with water. It’s one great step toward better health.

As for salt? The USDA is always trying to get people to cut back, and it continues to recommend it, especially for people with high blood pressure and/or hypertension. They also recommend to limit intake of sodium to less than 2,300 mg per day for ages 14 and older (1,500 mg for ages 1 – 3, 1,900 mg for ages 4 – 8 and 2,200 mg ages 9 – 13).


Eggs are good, eggs are bad … what are they, anyway? The recommendations include messaging that reads, “individuals should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible while consuming a healthy eating pattern.” So eggs in moderation … and it’s up to you to decide what that means. You can do it.

While the USDA promotes lean meats, the government says teen boys and men should reduce their meat intake and increase their vegetable citing data that males ages 14 – 70 consume more than the recommended amounts of meat, eggs and poultry. Females are more in line with advised amounts — good job, girls!

USAD's Healthy Eating Pattern:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits: Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars and sodium

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