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Report Foreshadows New Dietary Guidelines

Ashley Haluck

The Dietary Guideline Advisory Committee recently published a report which foreshadows the new dietary guidelines – to be released later this year.

The dietary guidelines are jointly published every 5 years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The purpose is to encourage a healthful diet, which will aid in maintaining a healthy weight and prevent chronic disease.

Two fundamental facts guided their research and recommendations:

  • 50 percent of all American adults (117 million individuals) have one or more preventable chronic diseases
  • 2/3 Americans (155 million individuals) are overweight or obese

According to their research current American diets are:

  • Low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains
  • High in saturated fat, calories, sodium, refined grains and added sugars
  • Low in consumption (compared to the EAR - Estimated Average Requirement) of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin C, Folate, Calcium, Magnesium, Fiber and Potassium
  • Iron is low for adolescent and pre-menopausal women

The new dietary guidelines will be based off of:

  • The Healthy U.S. Style Diet
  • The Healthy Mediterranean Style Diet
  • The Healthy Vegetarian Diet

Overall a healthy diet should be as follows:

  • High in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low/nonfat dairy, seafood, legumes and nuts
  • Moderate in alcohol
  • Lower in red/processed meats
  • Low in sugar sweetened beverages

**Lean meat was not consistently defined between studies so it is not included as something to intake high amounts of in the diet. However the healthy U.S. diet and healthy Mediterranean diet suggest that lean meats can be a part of a healthy diet.
The Dietary Guidelines Report mentioned sustainability. They suggested that diets higher in plant-based foods are better for the environment. Raising animal products produces much higher green house gas emissions. The current U.S. diet has a high impact on the environment related to animal food consumption.

The seafood industry is undergoing a rapid expansion to meet the world-wide demand. Fresh and farm raised fish will both be needed to meet the demands. Studies show that farm raised fish has as much or more EPA and DHA (omega 3 fatty acids) as wild fish.

Coffee is safe to consume in the amount of 3-5 cups per day or 400 mg of caffeine. Caffeine has been shown to prevent some chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes.


< 2,300 mg dietary sodium per day

< 10 percent of total kcals from saturated fat

10 percent maximum calories from added sugars

Cholesterol is no longer a nutrient of concern. Previously there was a recommendation to consume <300 mg per day. This recommendation has been lifted

Fruits: 2.5 cups/day for adults

Vegetables: 2-3.5 cups/day for adults

Grains: half of all grains should be whole grains. The advisory committee considered recommending less grains all together; however, this may decrease some vitamin and mineral intake, which are add in refined grains (B vitamins such as Folate)

Dairy: 3 cup equivalents/day for adults

Protein foods: 5-5.5 oz. for women; 5.5-6.5 oz. for men