General

Where does the information in MyDietSteps come from?

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MyDietSteps combines nutritional recommendations from three sources to bring you comprehensive, individualized nutrition information; the DRI nutrient standards, the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and the new MyPlate food guidelines that were just introduced by the USDA in June. Based on your personal information, the program calculates the nutrients you need for health and shows how to obtain those nutrients through food. These sources are explained in more detail in the About MyDietSteps section of the app under the My Steps option.

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Why should I be interested in the government nutrition guidelines?

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Whether or not you agree with them, the government nutrition guidelines impact your life. For example, the Dietary Guidelines form the basis for nutrition policy in Federal food, nutrition, education, and information programs. The MyPlate food guidelines will be taught in public schools throughout the country. The DRIs are being used to reassess our food labeling guidelines, which are used on all packaged goods in our grocery stores. It's important for us all to understand these guidelines and how they impact our lives.

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Is it ever appropriate to take nutritional supplements?

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Yes, the Dietary Guidelines recommend taking supplements in some instances. For example it is recommended that women who may become pregnant take 400 mcg of folic acid every day from fortified foods or a supplement, in addition to the amount of folate found in a healthful diet. It is recommended that those over 50 years meet their vitamin B-12 requirement mainly through fortified foods or a supplement. A pre-natal vitamin/mineral tablet that includes iron is often advised for pregnant and lactating women, as recommended by a health care provider. Vegan diets should include foods that are fortified with vitamin B-12, vitamin D, calcium, and possibly iron. These are explained in more detail in MyDietSteps™ under the More Details section of the My Menus option.

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How do I find a nutrition expert for more specific advice?

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If you would like nutrition advice that is beyond the scope of MyDietSteps™, I suggest consulting a Registered Dietitian. You can find Registered Dietitians by zip code on the American Dietetic Association site: www.eatright.org/programs/rdfinder

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Program Specific

Can I edit the menus?

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The menus cannot be edited on the My Menus section, but they can be edited before you email them in the My Steps section of the program.

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How does the program interpret the BMI for children?

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MyDietSteps uses the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Body-Mass-Index-For-Age growth charts to interpret the BMI for persons 2 � 19 years.

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I'm vegan, but the program still recommends servings from the Dairy Group.

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I agree, the Dairy group name is not accurate for the vegan diet. But if you can get past the name, the food group concept still applies. Foods are grouped according to nutrient content, so foods in the Dairy group are good sources of protein, vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus. So, instead of dairy foods, you would choose other foods in the group that supply these nutrients, such as fortified soy or nut milks and yogurts.

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Does the program track what I eat?

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The program does not track what you eat. MyDietSteps uniquely tells you what you "should" eat to meet your nutrient needs.

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The Vitamin D recommendations seem too low.

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A report from the National Academy of Sciences, reviewing the vitamin D requirement, was released in the fall of 2010. Based on this review, the recommended vitamin D intake was increased from previous levels for all age groups. These are the levels that are listed in the program. Other non-government research suggests that the recommended intake should be even higher. If you question what your intake should be, consult your health care practitioner.

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