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New Dietary Guidelines Take Effect

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If you plan to eat better this New Year, the government may be coming to your aid. After years of criticism over its "food pyramid," they are revising its dietary guidelines.

Obesity is an issue for millions of Americans and plenty of them are looking for that easy weight loss plan or magic pill. But the nation's top health official offered a reality check; they don't exist. Health and Human services secretary Tommy Thompson announced the government's new dietary guidelines.

"Trends change, such as the obesity epidemic. It’s becoming a huge issue right now. So that's why these guidelines are specifically targeted towards physical activity and calorie control," says Erin Chambers, a Clinical Dietician at Scott and White.

The guidelines tell people to lower their calories to maintain a healthy body weight. A daily diet should include at least four and a half cups of fruits and vegetables and at least three servings of whole grains. Plus, Americans should be physically active 30 to 60 minutes a day.

Chambers adds, "They're making a bigger emphasis on healthy fats, which is avocado, nuts, peanut butter, olive oil, canola oil and fatty fish like salmon, but eating them in proper serving sizes; that's really the big key."

Chambers is pleased about the new guidelines, because the government is offering simple and healthy advice.

"Calcium is critical for helping with weight management and that's something emerging in research. Three cups a day of milk or yogurt is what we recommend," says Chambers.

While these are new guidelines, it's really old advice we've all heard before. The trick is getting Americans to buy into a healthier lifestyle.