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USDA releases new Dietary Guidelines edition to improve quality of health

Published 08 January 2016

The US Departments of Agriculture and Health & Human Services has released an updated nutrition guidelines for general public based on scientific recommendations to improve quality of health by eating right.

dietary guidelines

The newly released eighth edition of Dietary Guidelines intends to help people minimise the risk of obesity and prevent chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which are based on nutrition recommendations, aims to provide the public, policy makers, and health professionals with information that can help them make more informed choices with regards to their diets at home, school, work and in their communities.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Sylvia M. Burwell said: "Protecting the health of the American public includes empowering them with the tools they need to make healthy choices in their daily lives. By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes more manageable. The Dietary Guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease."

The latest edition recognizes the scientific advancements in healthy eating choices and health outcomes over a lifetime. It emphasizes on focusing not over individual nutrients or foods in isolation, but on variety of foods that people eat and drink and healthy eating habits on the whole, to bring about permanent improvements in the health of the population.

A few important recommendations in the new edition include developing and following healthy eating pattern by using a combination of foods and drinks over time, focus on including a variety of nutritious foods in diet and focus on amount of intake, reducing calorific intake from added sugars, saturated fats and reduction in sodium intake, move towards healthier food and drink choices, and overall preference to healthy eating patterns.

The guidelines promote intake of vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean meats and other protein foods and oils, while urging to limit the consumption of saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium.

The recommendations urge American public to consume less than 10% of calories per day from added sugars. It suggests less than 10% of calories intake per day from saturated fats. People are advised to check the Nutrition Facts label to check for saturated fats levels. Foods that contain high levels of saturated fat include butter, whole milk, meats which are not labeled as lean and tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil.

The dietary guidelines also include suggestions for sodium intake to be less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day for people above 14 years and less for those younger. The Nutrition Facts label tool can help detect the sodium levels in processed foods like pizza, pasta dishes, sauces, and soups.

Image: New USDA guidelines promote intake of vegetables. Photo: Courtesy of Suat Eman/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.