Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 Series

The Dietary Guidelines have recently come out with their newest edition and will be in effect until 2020. The purpose of these guidelines is to keep health policies and programs, such as the National School Lunch Program, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the Older Americans Act Nutrition Services programs, and many others, consistent and to eliminate contradictions among programs. Aside from these programs however, every American could benefit from following the Dietary Guidelines and are encouraged to follow nutritious eating patterns as a component to a healthy lifestyle. Here is a very brief summary of the goals of Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.

The Guidelines

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all.

Key Recommendations

A healthy eating pattern includes:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups
    • dark green
    • red and orange
    • legumes (beans and peas)
    • starchy (potatoes and corn)
    • and others
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including
    • seafood
    • lean meats and poultry
    • eggs
    • legumes (beans and peas)
    • nuts, seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium
    • less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars
    • less than 10% of calories per day from saturated fats
    • less than 2,300 milligrams per day of sodium
    • If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation by adults of the legal drinking age
      • up to one drink per day for women
      • up to two drinks per day for men

Check back regularly for further details to each of the components of the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Best of luck this semester!


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