Boiling down the dietary guidelines
The dietary guidelines call for more veggies and less salt, fat and sugar. Here's what that means for you.By Mayo Clinic Staff
In an environment that promotes high-calorie, nutrient-poor foods with a more sedentary lifestyle, too many Americans are regularly eating too many calories. Hence, the obesity epidemic and related health problems such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
The good news is that a large body of evidence shows that healthy-eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide five overarching recommendations:
- Follow a healthy-eating pattern. A healthy-eating pattern and an appropriate calorie level will help you get the nutrition you need, achieve and maintain a healthy weight, and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
- Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount. To meet your nutrient needs and stay within your calorie limit, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across all food groups. Nutrient-dense foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and cut back on sodium. Follow an eating pattern that is low in added sugars, saturated fats and sodium.
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across all food groups in place of less healthy choices.
- Support healthy-eating patterns for all. Everyone has a responsibility for supporting healthy-eating in all settings, such as at home, work or school, or wherever food is available.
What is a healthy-eating pattern?
A healthy-eating pattern is one that includes:
- A variety of vegetables — dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other
- Fruits, especially whole fruits
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt and cheese, and fortified soy beverages
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds and soy products
- Oils, including those from plants, and those that occur naturally in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives and avocados
The Healthy U.S.-Style is a dietary pattern designed to consider the types and proportions of foods Americans typically eat, but in nutrient-dense forms and appropriate amounts.
Recommended servings for U.S.-style eating patterns for 2,000 calories a day
Aug. 23, 2016
|Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2015
||2 1/2 cups a day
||1 1/2 cups a week
|Red and orange
||5 1/2 cups a week
|Legumes (beans and peas)
||1 1/2 cups a week
||5 cups a week
||4 cups a week
||2 cups a day
||6 ounces a day
||≥ 3 ounces a day
||≤ 3 ounces a day
||3 cups a day
||5 1/2 ounces a day
||8 ounces a week
|Meats, poultry, eggs
||26 ounces a week
|Nuts, seeds, soy products
||4 ounces a week
||27 grams a day
|Limit on calories from added sugars, solid fats, added refined starches
||270 calories a day (14% of total calories)
See more In-depth
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines. Accessed Jan. 7, 2016.
- Top 10 things you need to know about the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. http://health.gov/news/dietary-guidelines-digital-press-kit/2016/01/top-10-things-you-need-to-know. Accessed Jan.7, 2016.