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Dietary Goals

In 1976, the United States Senate promulgated the "Dietary Goals for the United States" which were updated in 1977. These goals defined what is considered to be a target "healthy diet" for Americans. Since this document was published, Britain, Canada, and Australia have also published their own dietary goals very similar to those of the United States. These goals for the United States are based upon the following objectives:

Reduce total calories to reduce body fat.
  1. Increase complex carbohydrate sources as whole grain products, beans and green peas.
  2. Reduce total fats and of those fats consumed make them more unsaturated vegetable oils.
  3. Decrease sugars in the diet.
  4. Decrease cholesterol in the diet.
  5. Decrease salt in the diet.
  6. Increase fiber content of the diet.

These dietary recommendations were suggested for all normal healthy children and adults to help reduce the risk of heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, stroke and certain forms of cancer. The diet stresses foods in a natural, unrefined state as much as possible with fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables preferred.

The composition of the dietary goals diet is target at:

15% protein 30% fat
15% unsaturated 45% complex "starchy" carbohydrates
15% saturated 10% sugars
less than 300 mg of cholesterol 3-5 grams of sodium
15-20 grams of fiber

In order to achieve these target values lower fat meats and dairy products should be used and fried foods, condiments and high-fat desserts and snack foods should be limited. This diet will provide adequate levels of vitamins and minerals if the foods used are not highly processed. Certain target groups such as women of child bearing age may have to include an additional source of iron-rich food each day, and adolescents and post-menopausal women may need to increase their calcium-rich food consumption.



1/2 grapefruit 1 egg (poached)
3/4 cup all-bran cereal 10 whole, shelled, unsalted almonds
1 slice whole wheat bread (toasted) 1 teaspoon margarine or butter
1 cup skim milk or milk (2% fat) Hot, non-caloric beverage


1/2 cup tomato juice 2 ounces sliced turkey breast
2 slices whole wheat bread 1/3 cup cooked corn
1/2 cup steamed zucchini 1 apple
2 teaspoons low-fat mayonnaise


1 cup soup, vegetable 3 ounces broiled halibut
1 baked potato 1/2 cup steamed broccoli
2 teaspoons oil and vinegar dressing 1 slice whole wheat bread
1 banana 1 cup skim milk or milk (2% fat)
Hot, non-caloric beverage 1 teaspoon margarine or butter (optional)
1 cup salad: romaine or Boston lettuce, sliced carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, green pepper, celery

Nutrient Content

Calories: 1620 Protein: 17%
Carbohydrate: 55% Fat: 28%
Cholesterol: 370 mg Fiber: 18 g


Bread and Cereal Exchange List:

4 or more servings per day


Whole wheat bread Cereals
Lentils White bread (enriched)
Pastas Potatoes
Sweet potato Beans (dried)
Green peas


Fried potatoes Sugar-coated cereals
Refined breads Refined cereals
Refined pastas

Fat Exchange List:

as needed; moderation advised


Enriched margarine Butter
Polyunsaturated oils such as:
Safflower oil Soybean oil
Corn oil


• Saturated fats (such as lard)
• Saturated oils (such as coconut oil)

Fruit Exchange List:

2 or more servings per day

Recommended: Fresh, frozen and canned fruits, both whole and juice

Avoid: Canned fruits in syrup pack

Meat and Meat Substitute Exchange List:

6 or more servings per day


Lean meats Poultry
Fish • Shellfish Egg (limit egg yolk to 3 or 4 per week)
Low fat cheeses such as:
Cottage cheese Mozzarella


Sausages Luncheon meats
Fatty cheeses, such as cream cheese

Milk Exchange List:

2 or more servings per day


Skim milk Milk (2% fat)
Evaporated skim milk Yogurt made from skim milk or milk (2% fat)


• Whole milk or products made from whole milk, such as ice cream

Vegetable Exchange List:

2 or more servings per day

Recommended: Fresh, frozen, canned vegetables, both whole and juice

Miscellaneous Exchange List

Recommended: Homemade soups


  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Refined, processed sweets


Include six to eight cups of fluids, such as water, per day.

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