Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Sylvia M. Burwell and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack have released updated nutritional guidelines that encourage Americans to adopt a series of science-based recommendations to improve how they eat to reduce obesity and prevent chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension and heart disease. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans serves to provide the general public, as well as policy makers and health professionals with the information they need to help the public make informed choices about their diets at home, school, work and in their communities.
“Protecting the health of the American public includes empowering them with the tools they need to make healthy choices in their daily lives,” said Secretary Burwell. “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 newly released eight edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects advancements in scientific understanding about healthy eating choices and health outcomes over a lifetime. This edition recognizes the importance of focusing not on individual nutrients or foods in isolation, but on the variety of what people eat and drink—healthy eating patterns as a whole—to bring about lasting improvements in individual and population health.
“The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is one of many important tools that help to support a healthier next generation of Americans,” added Secretary Vilsack. “The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines provides individuals with the flexibility to make healthy food choices that are right for them and their families and take advantage of the diversity of products available, thanks to America’s farmers and ranchers.”
Based on a review of current scientific evidence on nutrition, the 2015 edition includes updated guidance on topics such as added sugars, sodium and cholesterol, as well as new information on caffeine. For example, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines is the first edition to recommend a quantitative limit to consume less than 10 percent of calories from added sugars. This edition also reaffirms guidance about the core building blocks of a healthy lifestyle that have remained consistent over the past several editions, and suggests there is still work to be done to encourage more Americans to follow the recommendations outlined in the Dietary Guidelines.
“CRN (Council for Responsible Nutrition) is pleased to see the Guidelines’ recognition of dietary supplements as having a role to play in achieving optimal nutrition,” commented Duffy MacKay, ND, senior vice president, scientific and regulatory affairs, CRN. “We remind consumers that dietary supplements are supplements to, not substitutes for, a healthy diet. However, given the number of under-consumed nutrients in our population, dietary supplements are needed to fill in the nutrient gaps. We hope this influential roadmap for nutrition will help bring awareness to the real life need for supplementation.”
For more information, visit www.dietaryguidelines.gov.