The federal government says eating breakfast isn’t necessary.
After years of suggesting that not eating breakfast is associated with excess body weight, the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion dropped that recommendation in their new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released earlier this year.
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System registered dietician Kerri Lindberg disagrees, stating that the morning meal is important to starting our days.
“People who eat breakfast are getting in more nutrients, which is beneficial,” Lindberg said. “People who don’t eat breakfast end up being very hungry at lunchtime and tend to overeat. Breakfast is a good way to get in more nutrients and vitamins and provide you with more fuel to energize your morning.”
The biggest change: the guidelines abandon specific limits to cholesterol. Previously, guidelines limited cholesterol intake to 300 milligrams a day, to reduce the risk of heart disease. Now, it’s recommended to “eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.”
The guidelines also outline limiting saturated fat to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
“People should still limit their cholesterol in relation to healthier hearts and reducing cancer risks,” Lindberg said. “Cholesterol is extremely high in eggs, shrimp, crab and lobster; but these are not foods that are typically found in most people’s everyday diets.”
However, the biggest danger is foods that include both cholesterol and saturated fat, such as red meat, fried chicken and pork. Saturated and trans fat contribute to higher blood cholesterol.
“While we should limit our cholesterol intake, the shift of focus to saturated fat is also important,” Lindberg said. “These are both factors we need to be aware of for our heart health and staying cancer free.”
However, for Lindberg, the most alarming detail in Dietary Guidelines for Americans wasn’t any of the changes in recommendations, but the data and research on fruit and vegetable consumption by Americans in their diet each day.
The report details how many cups of fruits and vegetables all ages are eating versus the recommended amount. Across the board, the trends show that people ages 4 to 71 are eating several cups below the suggested amount for produce.
People from age 14 to 50 are the biggest offenders when it comes to not including enough fruits and vegetables in their daily meals.
“The bottom line is that fruits and vegetables help manage and reduce risks for diseases,” Lindberg said. “If you eat hamburgers and French fries every day, it will make you feel very tired and not feel well. If you shift to a more well-rounded meal, you will feel much better. People don’t realize how bad they feel until they change their diets.”
Need help picking out healthy foods at the grocery store? Join Kerri Lindberg, RD, in one of her monthly grocery store tours. Visit SpartanburgRegional.com/Events to learn more about the next scheduled tour.
How Many Fruits and Vegetables Should I Eat Each Day?
|Children (ages 2-3)||4 servings|
|Children (ages 4-8)||5 servings|
|Children (ages 9-13)||6 servings|
|Teens (ages 14-18)||7 to 8 servings|
|Adults (ages 19-50)||7 to 10 servings|
|Adults (ages 51+)||7 servings|