Alert
Close

Help pack a million meals for struggling seniors on Sept. 11. Volunteer today

HIGHLIGHTS

Open
AARP Staying Sharp: Keep Your Brain Healthy

AARP REALPAD

The tablet with free 24/7 customer support. Learn More

AARP VETERAN MEMBERSHIP

Military and Veterans Discount

CONTESTS AND SWEEPS

AARP’s Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes

Enter the $50K Picture Your Retirement Sweepstakes. Ends 8/31/15. No purchase necessary. Enter for Official Rules.

KEEP BRAIN ACTIVE!

AARP Games - Play Now!

Webinars

Learn From the Experts

Sign up now for an upcoming webinar or find materials from a past session.

AARP BOOKS

Planning for Long-Term Care for Dummies

Get expert advice on planning for your own or a relative’s future care needs.

Learning centers

Get smart strategies for managing health conditions.

 

Arthritis

Heart Disease

Diabetes

Most Popular

Viewed

New Dietary Guidelines: Less Salt, More Veggies and Fruit

Older Americans should also get more B12

The latest nutrition guidelines announced yesterday by the federal government don't mince words when it comes to the way older adults should be eating: less salt, fat and sugar. More fruits, vegetables and grains.

new diet guides

— Kang Kim/Gallery Stock

In particular, if you're 51 and older, you need to sharply cut your salt consumption to no more than 1,500 mg of salt daily. The same goes for all African Americans, as well as anyone with high blood pressure, diabetes or kidney disease, according to the new nutrition recommendations.

Older adults also should make sure they get enough vitamin B12 through fortified cereals or vitamin supplements. Vitamin B12 deficiency — which can cause weakness, confusion, depression and fatigue — occurs more often in adults over 65, as well as in people who chronically take stomach acid-reducers like Prilosec and Zantac, which can affect the body's absorption of the vitamin. Foods high in B12 include fish, shellfish, meat (especially liver), dairy products and fortified breakfast cereals.

The nation's dietary guidelines are required by law to be updated every five years. They influence the health advice that people get as well as the nutritional information included on food labels. This year's version was refreshingly clear and straightforward, says Marion Nestle, a nutrition professor at New York University and a frequent critic of government nutrition advice.

"To my great surprise, I like a lot of what's in these guidelines. I like the clarity," Nestle wrote in an e-mail.

She praises the new guidelines for recognizing that "obesity is the number one public health nutrition problem in America. For the first time, the guidelines make it clear that eating less is a priority."

The departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services jointly issued the new federal dietary recommendations, focusing on America's growing obesity epidemic and its resulting health problems. More than two-thirds of adults and more than one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese, the guidelines noted.

Reducing salt consumption
was the number one recommendation. No one should consume more than 2,300 mg (about one teaspoon) of salt daily, but older adults, African Americans and those with certain health problems — roughly half the U.S. population — need to cut back even more, to 1,500 mg.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Tell Us WhatYou Think

Please leave your comment below.

Medical
Resources

Symptom Checker

Enter your medical symptoms to find out possible causes and treatments. Read

Health Encyclopedia

Find the information you need about health conditions, symptoms and medical procedures. Read

Health Screenings and Vaccines

What screenings and shots do you need? Read

Advertisement

Discounts & Benefits

From companies that meet the high standards of service and quality set by AARP.

Walgreens 1 discount membership aarp

Members can earn 50 points per $1 spent on select health & wellness products at Walgreens.

member benefit aarp hear usa

Members save 15% on easy listening devices and more at the HearUSA Hearing Shop.

Eye Med 4 Membership Benefit AARP Discount

Members save up to 60% on eye exams and 30% on glasses at Target Optical.

Membership Benefits Discounts Email Genius

Brain boost? Get AARP email for access to memory exercises & more that help you focus.

Rewards for Good

Your Points Balance:

Learn More

Earn points for completing free online activities designed to enrich your life.

Find more ways to earn points

Redeem your points to save on merchandise, travel, and more.

Find more ways to redeem points

Advertisement