APR 25, 2024 9:30 PM PDT

Current Nutritional Recommendations Across Lifespan

WRITTEN BY: Savannah Logan

New research published in The New England Journal of Medicine has explored current trends in nutrition and energy consumption over the lifespan of humans.

It is well known that a poor diet is associated with a variety of diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Nutritional recommendations for optimal health have varied throughout the years, and the most recent guidance focuses on “food as medicine” to stave off many diseases. By optimizing ratios of the three primary macronutrients of fat, protein, and carbohydrates, many common diseases can be prevented. In addition, fiber and water intake can play important roles in health.

The new paper includes dietary recommendations for various stages of development ranging from 0 to 6 months of age up to 19 years or older. Additionally, a variety of healthy meal patterns are provided for reference. While the meal patterns vary, common items that comprise a healthy diet include vegetables, fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy, lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, plant- and seafood-based oils, and whole grains. The study further provides recommendations for treating specific diet-related diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes.

The authors of the study note that factors such as financial resources, ethnic food traditions, and cultural backgrounds can play a role in determining diets and dietary restrictions. However, even with constraints, general recommendations for macronutrient consumption and overall energy consumption can lead to better health. Important factors for maintaining a healthy diet, and particularly a heart-healthy diet, include controlling overall energy intake by monitoring portion sizes, incorporating fruits and vegetables into meals regularly, eating a ratio of at least 50% whole grains to refined grains, limiting unhealthy fats, and choosing lean meats whenever possible. The Mediterranean diet is a classic example of a healthy diet that includes correct macronutrient ratios and can lead to better heart health.

Sources: NEJM, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Savannah (she/her) is a scientific writer specializing in cardiology at Labroots. Her background is in medical writing with significant experience in obesity, oncology, and infectious diseases. She has conducted research in microbial biophysics, optics, and education. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.
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