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Dietary Guidelines

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010

Published by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the guidelines reflect the science-based recommendations of nutrition experts. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010 full document is available at www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines.

Physical Activity

Adults (aged 18-64)

Adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week.

  • Additional health benefits are provided by increasing to 5 hours (300 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week.

For more information, visit: http://health.gov/paguidelines/factsheetprof.aspx


  • You need at least 2 cups of fruit each day. For example: 1 small banana, 1 large orange, and 1/4 cup of dried apricots or peaches.
  • Eat at least 2 ½ cups of vegetables each day. For example: ½ cup steamed broccoli, 1 cup raw carrots, and ½ cup of pinto beans. Make sure to choose a variety of colorful vegetables for optimal health; specifically, dark green, orange, and yellow vegetables and legumes (dry beans).
  • Make half of your grains whole. Eat at least 3 ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice, or pasta every day. For example: 1 slice of whole wheat bread, 1 cup of breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta. Look to see that grains are referred to as “whole” in the list of ingredients.
  • Choose lean red meats and poultry. Bake it, broil it, or grill it. Vary your protein choices – with more fish, beans, peas, nuts, and seeds.
  • Get 3 cups low-fat or fat-free milk or dairy products every day. (1 ½ ounces of cheese equals 1 cup of milk) If you don’t or can’t consume milk, choose lactose-free milk products and/or calcium-fortified foods and beverages.
  • Look for foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol to help reduce the risk of heart disease (5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high).
  • Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (olives, nuts, seeds, olives oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed, wheat germ, salmon, and soybeans). Keep total fat intake between 20% - 35% of calories.
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (~ 1 teaspoon salt) per day to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the saltshaker. A food is considered low in sodium if it has 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.
  • Limit sugar intake to 8 teaspoons per day.

Food Safety

To avoid microbial food-borne illnesses:

  • Clean hands, food contact surfaces, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Meat and poultry should not be washed or rinsed.
  • Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing foods.
  • Chill perishable foods quickly and thaw foods properly.
  • Cook meat, poultry, and fish to safe internal temperatures to kill microorganisms.
  • Never leave meats in room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, unpasteurized juices, and raw sprouts.


  • Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
  • Avoid excessive (heavy or binge) drinking.
  • Consider the calorie content of mixers as well as the alcohol.
  • Avoid alcohol if you are:
    • pregnant or may become pregnant
    • if under the legal drinking age
    • if you are on medication that can interact with alcohol
    • if you have medical conditions that could be worsened by drinking
    • if planning to drive, operate machinery, or do other activities that could put you at risk if you are impaired.
  • If breastfeeding, wait at least 4 hours after drinking alcohol before breastfeeding. Alcohol should not be consumed at all until consistent latch on and breastfeeding patterns are established.
  • Do not begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of potential health benefits.