Your turn to boil it down

The federal government released a draft of its 2010 dietary guidelines yesterday.  Warning that obesity is “the single greatest threat to public health in this century”, an expert panel laid out these basic recommendations, as summarized by USA Today:

Reduce excess weight and obesity by cutting calorie intake and increasing physical activity.

Shift to a more plant-based diet that emphasizes vegetables, cooked dry beans and peas, fruits, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Increase the intake of seafood and fat-free and low-fat milk and milk products, and eat only moderate amounts of lean meats, poultry and eggs.

Significantly reduce intake of foods containing added sugars and solid fats, which contribute about 35% of the calories in the American diet. Cut sodium intake gradually to 1,500 milligrams a day and lower intake of refined grains, especially those with added sugar, solid fat and sodium.

Meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Sounds familiar?  It’s pretty much what dietary experts have been saying since 1980, and obesity’s gone through the roof.  Marion Nestle opined on The Atlantic’s food page:

The main difference seems to be the way the evidence was judged and in some of the details: the target for saturated fat is 7 percent and for sodium a gradual reduction to 1500 milligrams per day.

If so, that’s a lot of trouble to go through to get to basically the same place. I summarized that place in What to Eat as “Eat less, move more, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, and don’t eat too much junk food.” Michael Pollen did it even more succinctly: “Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.”

I like Nestle and Pollen’s boiling down of the guidelines into simple mantras.  I actually think about Pollen’s words occasionally when I shop at the supermarket or sort out the week’s meals at our house.

So can you do better?

How would you boil down healthy living and eating to a short reminder?

5 Comments on “Your turn to boil it down”

  1. Jonathan Brown says:

    How about:

    “Eat mostly plants”


    “Eat to live”

    or maybe a variation on a traditional maxim:

    “Eat simply, that others may simply eat”

    or maybe just

    “Eat simply”

    But, you know, the message oughta be clear by now. And as you indicate in your post, we should have incorporated this thinking into our diet a looong time ago.

    -Jonathan, NCPR

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. outsider says:

    Cook what you eat!

    If we make our own meals, rather than having them handed to us through the car window, and share them with someone else, we’ll enjoy food more and consume less of it.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Bret4207 says:

    All things in moderation.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Pete Klein says:

    The weight crises is the direct result of try to prevent smoking.
    If one thing doesn’t get you, something else will.
    When are people going to realize death is crucial for life. In the dance of life, death is always the partner.

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. What a concept –healthy, whole foods. Just read Michael Pollen’s “Food Rules.” It’s all anyone needs to know about nutrition. In my opinion anyway….

    Like/Dislike this comment: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

Comments are closed.