The federal government has officially released its updated dietary guidelines for Americans, focusing on recommendations for preventing chronic illnesses, developing healthy eating patterns for longevity, and limiting calories from things like added sugars and saturated fats.
The updated guide will not include recommendations on sustainable eating habits or limited red meat intake, despite specific recommendations on both from a nutrition advisory panel.
Instead, the guidelines avoid incriminating red meat but suggesting that Americans get their protein from “a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds.”
The guidelines do address issues like what should be considered a healthy intake of added sugars — less than 10 percent of calories per day, though Americans currently consume roughly twice that amount — and include a recommendation for Americans to limit intake of trans fats to as little as possible, pointing to a number of studies that link trans fats to an increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
Americans have also been advised to reduce their sodium intake, from an average of 3,440 milligrams per day to less than 2,300 milligrams per day for adults and children older than 14. Alcohol consumption, if any, should be moderate, but “it is not recommended that individuals begin drinking or drink more for any reason,” the guidelines note.
“Protecting the health of the American public includes empowering them with the tools they need to make healthy choices in their daily lives,” said Sylvia Burwell, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes more manageable. The dietary guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.”