How Healthy is Your Diet? Lets You Track It Yourself

This site is from the government, and it really is here to help you.

| 29 Mar 2024 | 11:30

Are you are doing your best to follow a healthful diet but feeling buried under a growing mass of nutrition facts and fables? The good news is that, the Department of Agriculture’s nutrition news tracker is your “gateway to reliable information on nutrition, healthy eating, physical activity, and food safety for consumers.”

The site, launched in 2004 as part of the USDA’s Obesity Intervention Plan, is updated regularly by Registered Dietitians at the Food and Nutrition Information Center (FNIC) plus scientific experts in food and nutrition within USDA and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

To access all this nifty knowledge, simply click on to where “insights and guidance for your personal nutrition interests” are conveniently grouped into four basic headings each printed in climate friendly green type.

(1) Vegetarian Nutrition: Once upon a time, America was a strictly meat-and-potatoes country, but over the past few decades the promise of a safer and healthier diet has led nearly 22 percent of us to prefer to prioritize plant foods. No surprise then that first up on this site is a guide to getting all the nutrients you need from the various plant-based diets starting with semi-vegetarian (mostly plant foods with a bit of meat and poultry on the plate), lacto-ovo vegetarian diet (no meat but dairy products allowed), pescatarian (fish and seafood), and vegan (no animal foods at all). You can use key words to explore a number of other sites from here and stay up to date with new articles such as the fascinating “Beef or Beet Wellington” added daily.

(2) DRI Calculator for Healthcare Professionals: No, you don’t have to have a degree in nutrition to use this entry. Happily, it offers a chart that allows you to figure out your very own daily dietary needs. Just fill out the handy form and up pops a report with your Body Mass Index (BMI), Estimated daily calorie needs, and Recommended intakes of macronutrients, water, vitamins, and minerals based on the National Academy of Sciences Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).

(3) Holiday Nutrition Guide: No matter how well you follow the rules the rest of the year, at holiday times who can resist that special dish? Nobody, that’s who. But this section may help you stay on track with nutritious options that limited in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium. The report, based on the My Plate diagram that replaced the Food Pyramid, offers smart food choices, easy low-cost recipes, and smart substitutions for ten groups of hungry humans. Extra bonus: Good choices for people with specific health problems such as diabetes plus cultural dishes such as some from Chinese and Latin menus.

(4) Nutrition Misinformation and Fraud: The title says it all.: This is where you dig up the resources you need to help identify nutrition misinformation and fraudulent health claims, i.e. false, incomplete, or misleading information about foods, nutrients, diets, supplements, or weight loss products. The reading list includes the U.S. Surgeon General’s Health Misinformation Reports and Publications, a “Community Toolkit for Addressing Health Misinformation” in English and Spanish, and an FDA bi-lingual report detailing “How to ferret out Common Health Scams“ in the growing pharmacopeia of dietary supplements and other health products.

Last but not least, the site serves up nutrient content, recipes, and food safety info for the top five food items searched on Eggs, bananas, apples, chicken, and avocados. Sounds like a yummy meal.