2015 Dietary Guidelines – What’s New?

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020

The US Government just released its 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the 8th edition of such guidelines, which offer only slight changes in recommendations to the guidelines released in 2010. The main points:

  1. Limit added sugar
  2. Opt for 3 servings of dairy
  3. Choose color – a variety of veggies and whole fruit
  4. Opt for WHOLE grains
  5. Exercise Regularly

Dietary Guidelines Key Points Snapshot

Every 5 years, the US Government revises its recommendations for healthy eating. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are not only created to help promote a healthy lifestyle and prevent chronic disease, but the recommendations also guide nutrition policy – think school feeding programs, WIC, the recommendations you get from health professionals. Here we break down the key points to give you something to think about as you launch into a new year.

Limit Added Sugar: 

This is the first time Dietary Guidelines have recommended a limit on added sugars. High levels of sugar consumption have been linked to increase risk of diabetes and heart disease. Added sugars are those added to foods/beverages, this does not include naturally occurring sugars such as those in milk and fruit. The New Dietary Guidelines are now recommending a limit of added sugar to <10% of total calories which in most cases equates to <12 teaspoons/day. (An average soda has about 8-10 teaspoons of sugar.)

*TIP: Keep in mind when looking for added sugars that 4 grams = 1 teaspoon.

Don’t forget Dairy:

Dairy foods – milk, cheese & yogurt remain a Dietary Guidelines mainstay and help promote health across a variety of eating patters from Mediterranean to Vegetarian.  Dairy is high in vitamin D, calcium, and potassium, 3 of the 4 nutrients we consistently miss out on. About 80% of the U.S. population is not meeting recommendations for dairy. The guidelines continue to recommend low fat and fat free dairy foods; however research continues to emerge about the benefits of full-fat dairy products – stay tuned!

*TIP: Lactose Intolerant? Try dairy foods naturally low in lactose like aged cheeses and yogurt OR opt for lactose free products – click for more.

Choose Colorful Veggies:

It is important to consume a variety of vegetables.  Not only should you eat veggies each day, but also consume various colors and types of vegetables each week – dark green, red and orange, starchy, legumes, and others.

*TIP: Have a hard time eating veggies plain? Pair with fresh cheese for some added protein and flavor. Plus, there’s some good evidence to suggest that this is a healthful snacking habit. 

Eat Whole Fruits:

Fruits provide a good source of dietary fiber, potassium, and Vitamin C. While 100% fruit juice is considered part of the fruit group aim for more whole fruits because they are higher in dietary fiber. Whole fruits include fresh, canned, frozen, and dried varieties.

Include Whole Grains:

Dietary Guidelines still recommend that half of your grains be whole. Whole grains contain the entire kernel, including the endosperm, bran, and germ. When grains are refined, the bran and germ is removed taking out some of the important nutrients (dietary fiber, iron, and other nutrients). Whole grains include whole wheat bread, whole grain cereals and crackers, oatmeal, quinoa, popcorn, and brown rice.

*TIP: Pair whole grains with dairy foods for an added nutrition boost + satiety

Nutrient Dense Protein:

Protein foods are not just important as a source of protein but also as a source of B vitamins, selenium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, vitamin D, and vitamin E.

*TIP: Certain types of proteins are higher in specific types of nutrients, so be sure to aim for a variety of protein foods from subgroups each week: seafood; meats, poultry, and eggs; and nuts, seeds, and soy products. 

Exercise Regularly:

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things individuals can do to improve their health. Aim for 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 min) a week of moderate intensity aerobic activity and include muscle strength training twice per week. Be sure to choose activities you enjoy to keep yourself motivated.

All foods consumed in a healthy diet can fit together like a puzzle to meet nutrient needs without exceeding limits of saturated fat, added sugars, sodium, and total calories. Mix it up, get variety, and don’t forget the dairy. Here’s to a happy healthy New Year!

Dietary Guidelines - what we are eating

What we are eating (or not eating)

How You Can Make Changes:

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