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HHS and USDA Release New Dietary Guidelines

HHS and USDA Release New Dietary Guidelines

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has released updated nutritional guidelines that encourage Americans to adopt a series of science-based recommendations to improve how they eat to reduce obesity and prevent chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans contains evidence-based nutrition recommendations for the general public, as well as policy makers and health professionals.

The newly released 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects advancements in scientific understanding about healthy eating choices and health outcomes over a lifetime. This edition recognizes the importance of focusing not on individual nutrients or foods in isolation, but on the variety of what people eat and drink—healthy eating patterns as a whole—to bring about lasting improvements in individual and population health.

The specific recommendations fit into five overarching guidelines in the new edition:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time
  • Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, 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 all

Importantly, the guidelines suggest Americans should consume:

  • Less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
  • Less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
  • Less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium for people over the age of 14 years and less for those younger

Based on a review of current scientific evidence on nutrition, the 2015 – 2020 edition includes updated guidance on topics such as added sugars, sodium, and cholesterol and new information on caffeine.

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