The Obama Administration recently released its revised Dietary Guidelines, which are revised every 5 years for how to choose optimal foods and beverages for a healthy lifestyle. These guidelines serve as the official notice about what we should eat.

As you will note, much of the advice has remained unchanged since 2010, because the new guidelines are still calling for a focus on eating more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and consuming less salt and sugar.

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and REDUCE SODIUM INTAKE.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all.

Cut salt. Cut sugar. Obviously, you’ve heard it before: Americans consume 3400 mg/ of sodium per day, a whopping 1,000 mg more than they should. What’s your sodium intake number?

If you have no idea about what your number is, don’t despair.

These guidelines are virtually ignored by the general public, but have a definite impact upon school lunch programs and the dietary advice rendered by health professionals.

Perhaps the real problem lies in not realizing how much sodium is packed into pizzas, cured meats, cheeses, breads and frozen meals and how fast it all adds up.

More importantly, most of us don’t know the first steps in how to reduce the numbers.

The truth is people grab these convenience foods because our lifestyles are hectic and we need ease of preparation. Sodium and sugar consumption seem to be the last thing on our minds when the kids are hungry and it’s already 7:00 a.m. or 7:00 p.m.

So, for breakfast to get all of you out the door, you grab a muffin and a yogurt, not realizing the muffin has at least 4 tsp of sugar and the yogurt, too, has 4 teaspoons of sugar, already a total of 8 teaspoons when your daily limit is 12 teaspoons of sugar.blueberry muffin

Then on your way to work, the muffin sticks in your throat, so you drive thru Starbucks to get a latte to wash it down. Add another 4 tsp. sugar and 150 mg. sodium to your daily count.

Starbucks Latte

If you are counting, this is your breakfast count before you hit the office:

Sugar   12 tsp sugar (You’ve already had your daily allotment of 12 tsp per day.)

Sodium 588 mg. sodium, you have 1712 mg. left to consume for the day, provided you don’t order a Subway Turkey Italiano Melt at Subway for 1490 mg. sodium.

And if you are planning on picking up a pizza for the kids, because it was a wild day at the office, you won’t think about just one slice alone has about 700 mg. of sodium per slice.iStock_000005784801XSmall

Obviously, the sodium and sugar numbers add up quickly, and the truth is few are going to dissect everything they eat to determine how much sugar and sodium they consume in a day.

Sadly, however, there are consequences for not watching these numbers, and the truth is we all take health for granted, until we don’t have it.

Astonishingly, about half of all U.S. adults have one or more preventable chronic diseases, which are directly related to poor diets, physical inactivity, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, and cancer.

In fact, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity now affects more than one-third of American adults and 17 percent of children.

These dire warnings can be prevented.

First steps:

  • Reverse this trend by limiting sugar and sodium from packaged foods and sodas.
  • Add more fruits and vegetables for one meal per day. Cut out one can of soda to cut sugar consumption.
  • Use Engage Organics Salt-free Seasonings in cooking or at the table to add antioxidant flavor and zest instead of salt to all foods.

These simple first steps can reduce the growing American problem with obesity and chronic diseases like Type Two diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Being mindful of what you put into your body is key in making better choices.

Engage Organics is the first step in the war on sodium. The blends are perfectly proportioned to exact the right amount of flavor in every shake. It’s easy, convenient, and fast and takes the guesswork out of how to season foods. Try it. It’s an easy first step. Your health depends upon it.