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As the nation’s obesity crisis continues unabated, in January federal regulators issued their bluntest nutrition advice to date: Drink Water instead of Sugary Drinks like Soda, fill your plate with fruits and vegetables and cut down on processed foods filled with sodium, fat or sugar.

More important, perhaps, the government told Americans, “Enjoy your food, but eat less.” Many Americans eat too many calories every day, expanding their waistlines and imperiling their health.

While the recommendations may seem obvious, it is nonetheless considered major progress for federal regulators, who have long skirted the issue, wary of the powerful food lobby.

More consumer-friendly advice and tools, including a next generation Food Pyramid, will be released by USDA and HHS in the coming months. Below is a preview of some of the tips that will be provided to help consumers translate the Dietary Guidelines into their everyday lives:

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It's a myth that eating healthy means spending a lot of money on food. With some simple steps you can improve your diet, lifestyle and bank balance, all at the same time.

Let's get started with these Seven Simple Tips:

No Fast Food or Soda.

This one should be a no-brainer by now. Fast food is quick and cheap but, really costly in terms of your overall health. And it's not as inexpensive as you may think. A bag of chips is more expensive than an apple or an orange. Soda is never as healthy or cheap as a glass of tap water.  And a healthy homemade sandwich can be made for less than it costs to order a take-out hamburger.  For the past 3 years, I've gone on a NoSodaNoFastFood Diet for the Month of September.  Sort of a body cleansing for my month of birth.  After doing this several times, I've found that I really don't like fast food or soda all that much, anymore.  Therefore,  I've extended the program to year round and even though I fall off the wagon now and again, I find myself staying true to the program for the most part.

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After sitting and reading a recent issue of Essence magazine, I begged the question are 42% of black women really obese? But, upon further reading and a bit more research on my part you may find the following information helpful.

Certain ethnic groups may not be getting accurate estimates of disease risk when they try to determine obesity using the traditional body mass index (BMI) scale.

Research shows that the numbers used to indicate weight category does not reflect the same amount of body fat for some races compared to others. Some researchers also believe that BMI calculations are inexact and should be tailored to help target those at risk.

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