A Look at the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – Harvard Health Blog


The Dietary Guidelines for Americans DGAs, published by the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), provide science-based recommendations on what to eat and drink to promote health, reduce the risk of chronic disease, and meet nutritional needs. The guidelines provide a framework for policymakers, nutrition and health professionals to help individuals follow a healthy and nutritionally adequate diet. It also helps inform the nutritional planning of federal programs including the National School Lunch Program, the Food Supplemental Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Special Supplementary Feeding Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

DGAs are updated every five years, with each update based on the previous set of guidelines. The 2015-2020 guidelines for healthy eating patterns emphasized individual foods. The 2020-2025 Guidelines were released in December 2020.

Who are the nutritional guidelines – not intended –

DGAs are recommendations for the general public including healthy people, those who are overweight and obese, and at risk of chronic disease. While nearly everyone can benefit from choosing more nutrient-rich foods and following a healthy eating pattern, those who already suffer from one or more chronic diseases related to nutrition, such as type 2 diabetes or heart disease, may benefit from a state-specific diet. Satisfactory instruct. Ask your doctor for recommendations. He or she may refer you to a registered dietitian for more specific advice.

Recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women, infants and young children

For the first time, DGAs include infants and young children from birth to 24 months, and pregnant and breastfeeding women. It is worth noting that the guidelines contain a recommendation that encourages the introduction of Potential allergens Such as peanuts, eggs and cow’s milk products for infants around 6 months old. They also recommend that children under the age of two years not eat foods that contain any salt or added sugar. Exposure to these foods early in life can increase their preference later in life, which may contribute to weight gain and obesity. (Read This blog For more details on what the new guidelines recommend for infants, children and teens.)

The guidelines promote healthy eating patterns across preferences and cultures

Most Americans consume a diet that does not comply with DGAs, and fall short when it comes to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, legumes, and low-fat dairy products. Often times, simple swaps can help you eat more nutrient-dense foods, which are high in nutrients but relatively low in calories. For example, replace full-fat yogurt with added sugar versus regular low-fat yogurt with fresh fruit. Offer whole wheat pasta instead of white pasta; Or substitute beans for meat in your favorite chili recipe.

New DGAs provide a framework for healthy eating that can be adopted across cultures and food preferences. For example, their selection of nutrient-dense vegetables includes chamamole, Korean spring green, and yucca, a nut-flavored tuber native to South America. The DGAs also note that foods flavored with spices and herbs can allow added sugar, salt and saturated fats to be lowered.

No change to the recommendation for added sugar

HHS and USDA took this Scientific Report of the Advisory Committee on Dietary Guidelines for 2020 A public comment will be taken into account when updating the guidelines. The report recommends cutting added sugar from 10% of your total daily calories to 6%. However, the 2020-2025 guidelines did not make this change, leaving their recommendation that “a healthy diet limits added sugars to less than 10 percent of calories per day.”

Sugar-sweetened beverages are the main source of added sugar in the American diet. Research has shown that sugar-sweetened beverages increase the risk of developing high blood pressure Fatty liver disease. Sugar lacks nutrients, contributes to obesity and increases the risk of heart disease.

The American Heart Association Women recommend limiting added sugar to 6 teaspoons or 100 calories a day, and about 9 teaspoons or 150 calories a day for men. The DGA recommendation for a 10% of a 2,000-calorie diet is about 50 grams (12 teaspoons) of sugar per day. The USDA and HHS State that the science regarding added sugar has not changed, and that allowing 10% of calories from added sugar allows for diet flexibility.

In my view as a registered dietitian, 50g of sugar is way too high. I advise my patients to check packaged foods for added sugar, as many seemingly healthy packaged foods contain high amounts of added sugar. For example, some Greek yogurt may contain up to 9 grams per serving, cold grains up to 16 grams per serving, and granola bars up to 18 grams per serving.

The guidelines do not change alcohol caps for men

The Advisory Committee also encouraged tightening alcohol consumption limits for men, proposing to reduce the upper daily limit from two drinks per day to one drink per day (equal to the current recommendation for women). However, the new guidelines did not adopt this recommendation.

A standard beverage is defined as a 5 ounce serving of wine, 1.5 ounce of distilled spirits, or 12 ounce of beer. Typically, one drink equals about 100 to 150 calories and has few nutrients.

The current recommendation for up to two drinks a day was introduced for men in 1990 and is outdated. In those who drink, the The lowest risk For all deaths, it equals one US standard drink per day for men and women. Moreover, there is no evidence of benefit from two drinks a day. The American Institute for Cancer Research Alcohol is noted to increase the risk of many types of cancer, even at low consumption levels. In fact, the American Cancer Society’s 2020 guide to diet and physical activity for cancer prevention concluded that “it is best not to drink alcohol.”

Despite emerging evidence, the US Department of Agriculture and HHS rejected the recommendation to tighten alcohol consumption guidelines to one drink per day for men, based on “undue evidence.”


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