USDA Releases New Dietary Guidelines for Americans
The guidelines have a new focus. Instead of focusing on individual nutrients and food groups, it recommends that Americans make choices that add up to an overall healthy eating pattern.
The guidelines recommend that Americans seek “to build a healthy eating pattern, combine healthy choices from across all food groups — while paying attention to calorie limits, as well.”
According to a USDA press release, there are five encompassing guidelines:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. To maintain a healthy body weight, consume all nutrients the body needs and reduce the risk of chronic disease; choose a healthy eating pattern. A healthy eating pattern is not rigid but adaptable for all individuals based on personal preferences, culture, traditions and budget. All food and beverage choices matter.
- Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount. Choose nutrient dense foods from all food groups that contain many vitamins, minerals and other substances that help the body.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Cut back on foods that are high in added sugars (dessert foods, cookies, ice cream, etc.) and saturated fats (fat that is solid at room temperature).
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose healthy foods and beverages in place of less healthy choices. Personal and cultural preferences are important to consider to help make these choices easier.
- Support healthy eating patterns for all. Help yourself and others by supporting and promoting healthy food choices at home, at school and in community settings.
While eating a healthy diet is vital, the Dietary Guidelines also emphasize the importance of physical activity in the prevention of chronic diseases and to help maintain a healthy body weight.