Vegetables get top marks, sugar should be limited and plant-based eating is encouraged for Americans. Those are the headliners from the U.S. 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, which are updated every 5 years. The newest guidelines have five goals:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern for life.
- Focus on variety, nutrient density* and amount.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake.
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
- Support healthy eating patterns for everyone.
*Nutrient-dense foods contain a large number of nutrients (e.g., vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, etc.) and relatively few calories.
The new guidelines represent a shift from detailed nutrient recommendations to more general eating patterns, which include:
- A variety of vegetables, including legumes (also known as pulses)
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Grains (at least half of which are whole grains)
- Fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, cheese and soy beverages
- Protein-rich foods: seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds
The Guidelines encourage limiting the big three: sugar, salt and saturated fat. Per-day recommendations:
- Consume less than 10% of calories from added sugars.
- Consume fewer than 2,300 milligrams of sodium.
- Consume less than 10% of calories from saturated fats.
Approved this spring, the new Nutrition Facts food label will make it easier to track serving sizes, calories, added sugar, among other information suggested in the current dietary guidelines. Food manufacturers will need to implement the new label by 2018. Read more about the new Nutrition Facts label.