The seventh edition of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans” was released Jan. 31 and the latest dietary recommendations by the federal government come as no surprise: eat less salt and saturated fats, eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains.

However, among the recommendations updated every five years by the Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services and then tweaked by regulators and eventually made public this year’s guidelines were extremely blunt. The government strongly suggests that Americans just simply eat less.

According to a statement that was included in the dietary guideline report, more than a third of children and more than two-thirds of adults in the U.S. are overweight or obese.

The U.S. obesity rate “is a crisis that we can no longer ignore,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said at a news conference. Vilsack also went on to say that, “the new and improved recommendations give individuals the information to make thoughtful choices.”

Among the new guidelines the government is stressing the need to reduce sodium intake by two-thirds of a teaspoon or 35 percent. Anyone 51 or older, all African-Americans, children and adults with hypertension, diabetes and chronic kidney disease should cut their salt intake to 1,500 milligrams a day. The rest of the population should consume no more than 2,300 milligrams, equaling a teaspoon.

In addition the guidelines suggest filling your plate half-full of fruits and vegetables and swapping bad fats for good fats by consuming less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.

While the guidelines are formulated for consumers and federal nutrition programs the new dietary recommendations are just as much directed toward the food industry meaning that restaurants will have to think twice about their menus and portion sizes. Restaurants have continued to serve oversized portions only adding to the obesity epidemic.

Nutritionist and dietary specialists say this edition of Dietary Guidelines for Americans is much more understandable and actionable for the general public. Instead of just listing what not to eat as was done in the past the most recent guidelines go into detail as to what to eat and how to do it.

Along with filling half the plate with fruits and vegetables Americans should choose a variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy and unsalted nuts and seeds the report said.

With the nutrition-labeling initiative announced recently by the food industry combined with the current U.S. recommendation hopefully consumers will be more informed to make more conscious decisions and choices while at the grocery store.

Only we can take responsibility for our bodies. The guidelines are out there. If we choose to educate ourselves that’s our doing however the longer Americans go on eating as they do the obesity rate will only increase along with the risk of diabetes, heart attacks and strokes, all with the possibility of leading to death.