New U.S. Nutrition Guidelines– 5 Things You Should Know

New U.S. Nutrition Guidelines– 5 Things You Should Know

The U.S. departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services recently released updated nutrition guidelines, which represent the best nutritional advice the government has for its citizens, re-released and updated every five years.

Although the revisions do not represent a massive shift in nutritional advice, there are a few interesting changes this time around. (Though not as many as some nutrition experts would like to see. Noted nutritionist and public health expert Marion Nestle said on her blog that much of the language in the guidelines comes down to “politics.”)

Still, some advances for the sake of better national nutrition have been made. Here are the top points of interest — perhaps there will be action items to apply to your own life.

5 Things You Should Know About the New U.S. Nutrition Guidelines

1. The Guidelines Focus on “Patterns.”

Rather than focus on specific nutrients or complicated “eat this, not that” advice, this time around, the guidelines called for healthy patterns. Specifically, Americans should aim to primarily consume a variety of vegetables; whole fruit; whole grains; a variety of protein, including meat, fish, nuts and seeds, and low-fat or fat-free dairy. These are the building blocks of a healthy diet, the guidelines state.

2. They Suggest How Much Sugar to Eat (or Not)

three donuts with sprinkles on plate

For the first time, the guidelines not only recommend eating less sugar, but also exactly how much less; specifically, Americans should aim for 10 percent or fewer of their daily calories from sugar. For a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet, that’s no more than 50 grams. (As a comparison, one 12-ounce cola as 33 grams.) Nestle notes on her blog that the guidelines reference sugar-sweetened beverages, such as soda, as the primary sweet culprit in the American diet, but says stronger language against these drinks could have been used.

3. Some Should Cut Down on Meat

Once, it was believed the guidelines would recommend everyone cut down on red meat for sustainability’s sake (it’s production is particularly tough on the planet). But that language ended up softened; still, the government did recommend that men and teenage boys consume less red meat, and that every individual keep saturated fat consumption to less than 10 percent of daily calories. (That’s 22 grams on a 2,000-calories-per-day plan.)

On a related note, the World Health Organization recently came out and labeled meat a carcinogen, a controversial claim to be sure, and one we’re sure to hear more about in the coming years.

READ  How Much Do You Know About Nutrition?

4. What Was Bad is Now Good

egg cooked with tomatoes toast and milke

Breakfast lovers, rejoice. Once-maligned foods, such as eggs and coffee, are now back in the good graces of the federal government. Thanks to the evolving science surrounding these two foods, the guidelines now state they can be part of a healthy diet, The Washington Post reported.

5. Keep Moderation in Mind

The bottom line of the guidelines: More “whole” foods, less processed meals and snacks. More veggies and whole grains, less sugar, saturated fat and sweetened drinks. If you do drink alcohol, keep it to one drink per day for women and two for men. In short, strive for balance with what you eat and drink. (That’s a message we can live with.)

TELL US: What do you think of the updated nutrition guidelines?

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