Confused by the New Food Pyramid Guidelines? Here’s the Skinny on How to Maintain a Healthy Weight

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After 13 years, the Food Pyramid is finally getting a makeover. The new guidelines emphasize the importance of controlling weight through making wise food choices and increasing physical activity.

You’ve probably heard the statistics. The average American gains one to two pound of fat a year. Obesity rates are soaring. And according to the Centers for Disease Control, adolescents and young adults are the most overweight in our nation’s history.

The Old Food Pyramid fell short when it came to giving us guidance on how to maintain a healthy weight. And lately there’s been so much conflicting information that we don’t know which advice to follow.

The New Food Pyramid Emphasizes Making Gradual Changes

The good news is after 13 years, the Food Pyramid is finally getting a makeover. The new guidelines emphasize the importance of controlling weight, which includes the importance of physical activity. One of the big changes is the recommendation to be physically active for at least 30 minutes most days of the week.

Instead of emphasizing "complex carbohydrates," the new guidelines urge Americans to limit sugar intake while stressing the benefits of whole grains.

The New Food Pyramid’s stance on dietary fats makes a clear break from the past, when all fats were considered bad. The latest advice recommends getting up to a third of your daily calories from “good” fats like olive oil, flaxseed and fish oils.

Small Changes Get Big Results

Overall, the New Pyramid guidelines advise eating fewer calories and more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. They recommend drinking more lowfat milk, and eating less trans fats and salt.

Try getting up 30 minutes earlier than you normally would so you can exercise. Research shows that people who do morning workouts have a better stick-with-it rate.

One of the biggest challenges to maintaining a healthy weight is trying to control cravings for you favorite foods. There are now natural products available which may help. Hoodia, the natural appetite suppressant that can control cravings without stimulants, has justly received a lot of positive national press coverage. A combination natural product like In Control from contains Hoodia gordonii extract plus the natural ingredient Glucomannan, which contributes to a feeling of fullness so important when trying to watch your weight.

When you want to start an exercise routine but can’t get motivated, consider getting a workout partner, or join a walking or running group. It’s easier to stick with your new lifestyle when you can share your success with a partner.

By emphasizing gradual improvement, and the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle, the New Food Pyramid can become an easy to follow guide when you’re looking to lose weight, maintain your weight, and stay healthy.

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