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USDA, HHS Update Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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Key Takeaways

  • USDA and HHS updated dietary recommendations to include healthy dietary patterns that promote health and prevent disease.
  • The core elements that comprise a healthy dietary pattern include vegetables, fruits, grains, of which at least half should be whole grain, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, protein foods, and oils.
  • The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement on the guidelines saying it is pleased that for the first time, recommendations are included for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as infants and toddlers.

HealthDay News–In Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025, published jointly by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), updated recommendations are presented for healthy dietary patterns that promote health and prevent disease.

Based on current scientific and medical knowledge, the report provides 4 guidelines that encourage healthy eating throughout life and emphasize that a healthy dietary pattern is not a rigid prescription. At every life stage, from infancy through older adulthood, a healthy dietary pattern should be followed. To reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations, nutrient-dense food and beverage choices should be customized and enjoyed.

Food group needs should be met with a focus on nutrient-dense food and beverages, while staying within calorie limits; the core elements that comprise a healthy dietary pattern include vegetables, fruits, grains, of which at least half should be whole grain, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, protein foods, and oils. Foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium should be limited, as should alcoholic beverages.

“With the release of the dietary guidelines, we have taken the very important step to provide nutrition guidance that can help all Americans lead healthier lives by making every bite count,” U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said in a statement.

The American Heart Association (AHA) released a statement on the guidelines saying it is pleased that for the first time, recommendations are included for pregnant and breastfeeding women as well as infants and toddlers. “But we are disappointed that USDA and HHS did not accept all of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s science-based recommendations in the final guidelines for 2020, including the recommendation to lower added sugars consumption to less than 6% of calories,” Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D., AHA president, said in the statement.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025

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