Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Fast forward to 2015. The title of the latest DGA (Dietary Guidelines for Americans) reflect that they cover 5 years, not just one. That was a welcome change, as was the recommendation about coffee—you may be glad to know the DGAC concluded that moderate consumption can be part of a healthy diet. Low-calorie sweeteners, especially aspartame, were reviewed and deemed safe (DGA 2015–2020).

Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology and chair of the department of nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, was on the DGAC and says they reviewed the evidence on fat extensively. He adds, “The committee recommended saturated fat in the diet be replaced by unsaturated fats, especially polyunsaturated fatty acids, and that replacing saturated fat with refined carbohydrates is not beneficial for the prevention of heart disease.”

DGA 2015–2020’s Five Overarching Guidelines:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.

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