About half of American adults have one or more chronic diseases — often related to poor diet. Eating healthy is important to maintaining health and reducing the risk of disease. Everything we eat and drink each day and over time really does matter.
Make 2020 the year to focus on eating healthy, and eating well. There is no better way to get healthier. The Intermountain LiVe Well Center in St. George can help. Dietitians and healthy cooking classes are available to help you live well, eat well, and feel well in 2020 and beyond.
“At the LiVe Well Center we want to show people how to eat well and enjoy food,” said Christie Benton, RDN, CD, a registered dietitian at the St. George LiVe Well Center. “There is no time like the present to start making better food choices. 2020 will bring new changes in USDA dietary guidelines, new nutrition labels on processed foods, new LiVe Well cooking classes, and plenty of opportunities to make more informed and healthier choices about the foods we eat.”
USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated every five years to reflect new and current research about nutrition to help people make healthier food choices. Current guidelines focus on whole fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free dairy products, low-fat proteins, and drinking and eating less sodium, less saturated fat, and less added sugars. 2020 guidelines will likely contain similar information. Watch for new MyPlate messages in 2020 and into 2021.
“Recent nutrition research has been focusing a lot on meat,” said Benton. “Processed meat in particular will be the subject of continuing studies throughout 2020. Plant-based diets will continue to gain popular approval. It is important to remember that there is no one perfect diet for everyone. Everyone needs to find what works for them, their families, their food preferences, and health situations. Talk to your healthcare provider or a dietitian if you need help understanding what foods you should eat or avoid in your particular circumstance.”
More: Food trends for 2020: Plant-based continues to sprout, focus on mood-boosting ingredients
The Nutrition Facts Label that appears on packaged foods has undergone a transformation for 2020. It will make it easier to make informed food choices to support a healthy diet. The new updated label reflects current scientific information and is already appearing on many on the foods you eat.
“Serving sizes on Nutrition Labels have now been updated to reflect what people are actually eating,” Benton said. “Ice cream, for example, has gone from a ½ cup serving to 2/3 cup serving. The calories per serving will also appear bolded-out on the new label. People will easily know how many calories are in that scoop of ice cream, and they may decide they can’t afford to eat it. It will be interesting to see what impact the new food label will have on consumers and their food choices.”
Grams of added sugar and an updated nutrient list are also required on the new Nutrition Facts Label. Added sugars include sugars added during processing such as sugars from corn syrups, honey, and table sugar. Scientific data shows that it is difficult to meet nutrient needs if consuming more than 10% of daily total calories from added sugar. Vitamin D and potassium are now required on the label because Americans do not always get the recommended amounts of these nutrients.
“One of the best ways to learn how to navigate all this new information is to learn how to prepare healthy meals at a LiVe Well cooking class,” said Benton. “The LiVe Well Center in St. George offers a monthly cooking class. In January, a local doctor will demonstrate how to lower the salt and fat content of recipes without compromising taste. In February we will have a Heart Healthy Cooking class featuring vegetarian choices. And in March a Dixie Regional chef will teach important skills necessary to prepping healthy meals.”
Benton summarized: “We want people to live well, eat, well, and feel well in 2020. Focusing on eating healthy, enjoying good food, and remembering to use moderation in all food choices, is sure to make 2020 your healthiest year yet.”
The LiVe Well Center of St. George wishes the community a healthy and happy New Year!
This LiVe Well column represents collaboration between healthcare professionals from the medical staffs of our not-for-profit Intermountain Healthcare hospitals and The Spectrum & Daily News.