Not Your Mother’s Dietary Guidelines

Every five years, the Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments update the federal dietary guidelines. Recently announced, the newest dietary guidelines contain several changes as well as a few surprises.

  1. Limit Your Sugar Intake. Not surprisingly, the guidelines recommend Americans cut back on sugar intake. The new rules suggest limiting added sugars to a mere 10 percent of daily calories.
  2. Eat Less…Protein? A major surprise in the updated guidelines is the finding that many teenage boys and men, in particular, are eating too much protein. While lean meat consumption is still part of a balanced diet, the guide recommends men substitute some consumption of protein for vegetables.
  3. Eat More…Cholesterol?  The dietary guideline previously limited the intake of cholesterol to 300 milligrams daily. The new guidelines no longer contain a limit to dietary cholesterol. This means cholesterol-rich foods are no longer considered a health concern. Egg and seafood-lovers rejoice!
  4. Focus on Patterns. While many of the updated guidelines focus on individual nutrients, the guidelines advise individuals to focus primarily on overall patterns of healthy eating. Note that this is the first time the guidelines recommend a focus on overall habits instead of specific nutrients.

The guidelines suggest three diets, including vegetarian and Mediterranean diets. Before adapting any new plan, speak with a registered dietitian or nutritionist to ensure you’re utilizing the best plan for your individual needs. However, these updated guidelines are a great starting point for a balanced, healthy diet.

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