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1/25/16blog post

what's the deal with the new dietary guidelines?

fruites_veggies Did you hear?? The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines have been released! What does this mean for me, the registered dietitian and for you, the consumer?

For me: The Dietary Guidelines are one of several tools that registered dietitians use when guiding people with healthy eating recommendations. These sets of rules are evidenced based and published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services along with dietitian input. Besides dietitians, other health care employees and public health agencies will base their education and recommendations on these.

For you: The Dietary Guidelines are meant to reduce a person’s risk of chronic disease (i.e. obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease). This set of guidelines are focusing on eating patterns and not just specific food groups. Healthy eating is about balance. Making small changes towards healthy eating in the end equals one large healthy body.

Introducing the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all.


In a nutshell:

  1. Eat a variety of foods: colorful vegetables and fruits, whole grains, low fat milk and lean meats.
  2. Eat less than 10 percent of total calories per day from added sugar: Drink unsweetened beverages and eat foods with low to no added sugars. Note: Fruit contains the natural sugar (fructose) and low fat milk contains the natural sugar (lactose). While healthy, be mindful of portion sizes.
  3. Eat less than 10 percent of total calories per day from saturated fats – Reach for foods with less than 3 grams of saturated fat per serving.
  4. Eat less than 2300 milligrams (mg) sodium per day – Focus on eating less than 200 mg sodium per serving
  5. Drink alcohol in moderation.
  6. Eat together and enjoy trying new healthy foods!
  7. Don’t forget to be active as a family!

When I think back…I have witnessed several set of dietary guidelines – they come out every 5 years! The current guidelines address healthy eating for those age 2 years and older. I am excited for the 2020 guidelines - projected to include food and beverage evidenced based guidelines for infants, toddlers and pregnant women!

Learn more about the guidelines