Every five years the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are updated with recommendations for healthy eating based on the most recent research and evidence. The guidelines for 2016 are aimed reducing risk for chronic disease.
This year’s guidelines, developed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), are more a tweaking of already-developed guidelines of the past five years instead of any major adjustments.
Overall, the message for everyone to take from the newest guidelines, beyond the various details, is that you should make small changes in your diet, aiming for a balanced intake from the various food groups, keeping in mind the detailed recommendations in developing an overall healthy eating pattern.
Basic Changes in 2016 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
For the first time, the dietary guidelines address limiting added sugar to your diet – recommending added sugar should comprise no more than 10 percent of your total daily calories.
The government’s guidelines on sodium recommend no more than 2,300 mg daily – about one teaspoon. Remember this isn’t just about the salt you add to your food, but the sodium contained within foods; processed and packaged foods are high in hidden sodium.
Choose from a healthy American diet, vegetarian diet or Mediterranean diet
Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
The 300 mg daily limit on cholesterol intake has been lifted, with the recommendation to eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible. This means avoiding fatty meats and all but low-fat dairy products, but eggs are okay again because although they are high in cholesterol, they are low in saturated fats.
Choose protein-rich foods, including eating at least eight ounces of seafood each week, with lean meat and poultry also suggested.
Fruits and vegetables: 2 ½ cups daily of a wide variety of fruits and vegetables.
Not all health entities agree with the newest dietary guidelines. The American Heart Association recommends less sodium than these guidelines, aiming for less than 1,500 mg of sodium each day. The American Cancer Society is unhappy that the new guidelines do not address limiting processed meat.
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