Every five years, the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) have to jointly publish a report containing nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public. Last month, they released their 2015-2020 guidelines and here is what they have to recommend:
Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.
A healthy eating pattern includes:
- A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups—dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy (corn and potatoes), and other
- Fruits, especially whole fruits. If you just drink the juice, you miss out on the fiber.
- Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
- A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
A healthy eating pattern limits:
- Saturated fats and transfats, added sugars, and sodium
The Dietary Guidelines Key Recommendations also give more specific measurements of things you should limit. These ingredients are of particular public health concern in the United States, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating patterns within calorie limits:
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
- Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
- If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.
"Today, about half of all American adults — 117 million people — have one or more preventable, chronic diseases, many of which are related to poor quality eating patterns and physical inactivity," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell and Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack say in an introduction to the report.
So it's important to remember that while maintaining a healthy eating pattern is crucial, it's also necessary to maintain a healthy amount of exercise (at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise).
If you're interested in learning more about your health and what you can do to prevent potential chronic diseases, come schedule an appointment with your Primary Care Provider today.