Thursday, January 7, 2016

New diet guidelines help reduce obesity, risk for chronic disease

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack today released updated nutritional guidelines that encourage Americans to adopt a series of science-based recommendations to improve how they eat to reduce obesity and prevent chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is the nation's trusted resource for evidence-based nutrition recommendations and serves to provide the general public, as well as policy makers and health professionals with the information they need to help the public make informed choices about their diets at home, school, work and in their communities.

The specific recommendations fit into five overarching guidelines in the new edition:
  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time.
  • Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake
  • Shift to healthier food and beverage choices
  • Support healthy eating patterns for all

Healthy eating patterns include a variety of nutritious foods like vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean meats and other protein foods and oils, while limiting saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium. A healthy eating pattern is adaptable to a person's taste preferences, traditions, culture and budget.

Importantly, the guidelines suggest Americans should consume:
  • A variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), soy products, and nuts and seeds
  • Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. Oils also are naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.
Further, Americans should be encouraged to consume:
  • Less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars. 
  • Less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats. 
  • Less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium for people over the age of 14 years and less for those younger. 
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is available at dietaryguidelines.gov.

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