Debbie Archer | School of Agriculture, Fisheries and Human Sciences
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have released the latest U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025. Every five years, the guidelines render the best recommendations based on scientific research on promoting healthy diets, nutritional needs and reducing chronic diseases related to food intake to the U.S. population.
“The guidelines are designed for policymakers and nutrition and health professionals to help all individuals and their families make healthy choices in their daily lives to help prevent chronic diseases and enjoy a healthy diet,” Teresa Henson, Cooperative Extension Program specialist – nutrition outreach coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, said.
The new guidelines are the first to implement healthy dietary habits by life stage, from birth through older adulthood, which includes pregnant and lactating women, she said. For the 2020-2025 edition there are four overarching dietary guidelines:
- Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage.
- Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgetary considerations.
- Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages and stay within calorie limits.
- Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages.
Also, there are four important recommendations supporting the four guidelines listed above, Henson said. They are:
- Limit added sugars to less than 10% of calories per day for ages 2 and older and to avoid added sugars for infants and toddlers.
- Limit saturated fat to less than 10% of calories per day starting at age 2.
- Limit sodium intake to less than 2,300 mg per day (or even less if younger than 14).
- Limit alcoholic beverages (if consumed) to two drinks or less a day for men and one drink or less a day for women.
This edition focuses on the motto, “Make Every Bite Count with Dietary Guidelines,” Henson said. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines objective is to help improve the health of Americans and to ensure it is never too late for individuals to make necessary dietary changes regarding nutrient-dense forms of foods and beverages.
“The bottom line is that the Dietary Guidelines document provides direction on what foods and beverages people should eat to be healthy and prevent diseases in the long-term,” she said.
For more information, check out the new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans at https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/.
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