Get In Shape With New Dietary and Exercise Guidelines

Less fat, less sugar, more exercise are the latest health and fitness recommendations from The National Academy of Science's, Institute of Medicine.

To help America combat obesity, and the associated risk of chronic disease, The Institute of Medicine is now calling for an hour a day of physical activity, nearly twice that recommended in 1996 by the U. S. Surgeon General.

On a busy schedule an hour a day may seem daunting, but before you hit the panic button and completely throw in the towel on exercise, listen to what one of the lead scientists on the panel, Dr. John Caballero of John Hopkins University had to say. The doctor stated, "The one hour can be split throughout the day and include ordinary activities."

No Ordinary Moments

The study elaborates on what's considered an ordinary activity, and included in the one-hour daily total. Every-day, incidental activities such as stair climbing, house cleaning, gardening, and other similar forms of moderate physical exertion make it easier to tally up your daily hour. For more ways to burn calories all day: CLICK HERE

Someone in a largely sedentary occupation, who doesn't move around too much trapped behind a desk for eight hours at a clip, can get in enough exercise by walking (at 3 to 4 mph), playing golf (without a cart), or cycling at a leisurely pace for an hour each day.

The study is quick to point out that engaging in more intense types of exercise, such as jogging, fast walking, or even circuit training with weights, can cut the daily hour down to 20 or 30 minutes.

Balancing Act

The report stresses the importance of balancing diet and caloric intake with exercise, recommending total calories consumed by individuals of various heights, weights, and genders for different levels of physical activities. For example, a 30-year old female weighing between 111 and 150 would require:

  • 1800 to 2200 calories per day if she were sedentary
  • 2200 to 2500 calories per day if she were moderately active
  • 2500 to 2800 calories per day if she were very active

The Institute also recommends the following balance of carbohydrate, fat, and protein to meet an average adult's daily energy and nutritional needs, while minimizing the risk for weight gain, leading to obesity and chronic disease:

  • Carbohydrate - 45 to 65 percent
  • Fat - 20 to 35 percent
  • Protein - 10 to 35 percent

Sugar - Less

An addendum to the percentage of daily carbohydrate intake is the Institute's cap on added sugars. While adults and children both need a minimum of 130 grams of carbohydrates daily (necessary for glucose production and brain function), most consume far more in the form of added sugar.

Not more than 25 percent of total calories consumed should be from added sugars. Included in these totals would be all sugars incorporated into food or beverages during production. Naturally occurring sugars found in fruits and milk products are excluded from this total.

Fat - Not All Created Equal

Recommendations for daily fat intake range from 20 to 35 percent, and may seem high to the average fat-hating, fitness enthusiast. But mindful of the fact that these guidelines are geared towards healthy standards to avoid obesity, not the pursuit of rippling muscles.

Ironically, the report found that a diet extremely low in fat and high in carbs was likely to lower blood levels of high-density lipoproteins (or HDL, also known as the good cholesterol), which is a primary indicator of heart disease risk.

On the other hand, a diet high in saturated fat, or the kind of fat found in meat, full-fat dairy products, and baked goods is likely to raise low-density lipoproteins (or LDL, also known as the bad cholesterol). Mono and polyunsaturated fats, or the kind of fat found in vegetables and certain fish can reduce blood cholesterol when they replace saturated fats in the diet. Read more about fat: CLICK HERE

Protein - Status Quo

Recommended proteins ranges haven't changed from previously excepted levels. However, caution is issued against consuming very high levels of protein, significantly above what is normally found in food.

Fiber - Lose Weight, Reduce Risks

There is evidence to suggest that adequate fiber in the diet can promote weight control and reduce the risk of heart disease and colon cancer. The recommended intake of daily fiber for adults under age 50 is 38 grams for men, and 25 grams for women. Over age 50, it's 30 and 21 grams respectively.


These new guidelines on diet and exercise really aren't new. For thousands of years the human race has been very physically active in its day-to-day approach to survival. If one wanted to eat, remaining sedentary was not an option. When looked at in this manner, the recommendation of one-hour of daily physical activity offered by the Institute is not too extreme.

Whether you're a busy mom or dad, waiter or construction worker (or any other occupation that entails a great deal of daily physical work), you more than likely surpass the average American's physical activity level, and you should not consider yourself a sedentary individual. A realistic assessment still needs to be made, but a shorter, possibly more intense body sculpting and, or fat burning program that could be squeezed into your already active lifestyle, might be more appropriate.

The Firefighter's Workout Book can provide you with longer more gentle workouts designed for the less fit and sedentary individual, or a shorter, more intense training system designed to be added to an already physically active and busy day. Whatever category you fall into, be sure to add some form of daily exercise into your life, and back it up with sensible eating.

Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, this report is based on literally thousands of previous studies on individuals who have been able to maintain a healthy weight and avoid obesity. The information contained therein will probably become the bible on diet and exercise of the next decade.

The Firefighter's Workout Book contains over 50 illustrated exercises and routines, including strength, aerobic and stretching programs for every level of fitness.