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Waistlines and Guidelines

Dietary GuidelinesYep, it’s a blank slate New Year, which means (drum roll)…yet another set of newly released dietary guidelines.
Actually, these official U.S. dietary guidelines, fresh off the press, are updated every five years by the US Department of Health and Human Services and the US Department of Agriculture, but it sure feels like it’s more frequent than that. That’s the way it goes in the menu-shifting world of “eat this/not that,” with new research (some, of course, credible, and some not) always resulting in dietary fads, the latest superfoods or miracle diets.
So what’s new for our optimal eating for 2015-2020, according to the feds? The news is bad for sugar, good for salt, and good for those of us who aren’t exactly morning people. Some of the highlights are:

  • A new recommendation to limit intake of added sugar to just 10% of daily calories (Note: that’s not much!)
  • Good news for Joe: the revised guidelines suggest that between three and five 8-ounce cups of coffee a day can be part of a healthy diet (but they don’t encourage you to start a coffee habit if you’re not already hooked).
  • More leeway on salt intake, recommending that most Americans limit their daily salt intake to 2,300 milligrams, while dropping their reccomndation that those at high risk of cardiovascular disease limit their daily salt take to 1,500 milligrams
  • Saying “goodnight” to previous language that “not eating breakfast has been associated with excess body weight”
  • Suggestions that men and boys eat less eggs, poultry and meat to “reduce their overall intake of protein foods.”

The upshot is nothing you didn’t know before: eating healthy means eating a balanced and wide variety of fresh produce and fruit, whole grains, lean proteins, and going easy on dairy and sugars, salt and alcohol, while limiting or eliminating processed foods and sugared sodas as much as possible. Read the full report.
So there you have it. Here’s to healthy happy eating in 2016, and until the next guidelines come out in 2020!

Food Group Amount in the 2,000-Calorie-Level Pattern
Vegetables 2½ c-eq/day
Dark green 1½ c-eq/wk
Red and orange 5½ c-eq/wk
Legumes (beans and peas) 1½ c-eq/wk
Starchy 5 c-eq/wk
Other 4 c-eq/wk
Fruits 2 c-eq/day
Grains 6 oz-eq/day
Whole grains ≥ 3 oz-eq/day
Refined grains ≤ 3 oz-eq/day
Dairy 3 c-eq/day
Protein Foods 5½ oz-eq/day
Seafood 8 oz-eq/wk
Meats, poultry, eggs 26 oz-eq/wk
Nuts, seeds, soy products 4 oz-eq/wk
Oils 27 g/day
Limit on Calories for Other Uses (% of calories)c 270 kcal/day (14%)


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