Every 5 years since 1980, a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been published. The 2015-2020 version was just released (a little late). The report provides information to Americans regarding eating habits that will promote health and prevent chronic disease. The guidelines were devised by a Federal advisory committee, which was composed of prestigious researchers in the fields of nutrition, health, and medicine. The group conducted an extensive process and review of scientific literature and evidence. Relying on this growing body of scientific information and evidence has allowed for advancements in the guidelines and recommendations over the last 35 years.
It is important to note that these guidelines are very broad and meant to meet the general health of the 315+ million people who live in the United States. Those with medical conditions or nutritional deficiencies, very active lifestyles, or any special circumstances may have nutritional needs that vary from these basic recommendations. There are many Americans who could benefit from talking with a healthcare provider or Licensed/Registered Dietitian to get a meal plan to meet their specific needs.
Overall there were not significant changes since the previous guidelines. Notable under the key recommendations for healthy eating patterns were the following:
- Consume less than 10% of daily calories from saturated fat.
- Consume less than 10% of daily calories from added sugars.
- Consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Meet physical activity guidelines.
Note on caffeine:
“Individuals who do not consume caffeinated coffee or other caffeinated beverages are not encouraged to incorporate them into their eating pattern. Limited and mixed evidence is available from randomized controlled trials examining the relationship between those energy drinks which have high caffeine content and cardiovascular risk factors and other health outcomes. In addition, caffeinated beverages, such as some sodas or energy drinks, may include calories from added sugars, and although coffee itself has minimal calories, coffee beverages often contain added calories from cream, whole or 2% milk, creamer, and added sugars, which should be limited”.
Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.