Last updated: 8 Feb 2011 at 21:31
New US Diet Guidelines as of January 2011
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released last week. The United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health and Human Services served up a number of new dietary recommendations with the goal of combating the growing obesity epidemic and arming Americans with the information they need to live healthier, longer lives. Read here what Nutrition Advisor, Alyse Levine, told Livestrong.com on the new guidelines and her suggestions for putting the new recommendations into practice.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines recommend shifts in food consumption patterns, encouraging people to eat more of some foods and nutrients and less of others. What we are encouraged to eat more of are: whole grains, vegetables, fruits, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese or fortified soy beverages, vegetable oils such as canola, corn, olive, peanut and soybean, and seafood.
It’s recommended that we eat less: added sugars, solid fats, including saturated and trans fats, refined grains, and sodium.
Thirty-five percent of all calories consumed by Americans are solid fats and added sugars. People should replace as many of these calories as possible with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt and cheese. Another recommendation is to reduce overall calorie intake and increase physical activity. The guidelines are not promoting any one type of diet, rather they encourage an eating pattern that is both nutrient dense and calorie balanced.
Lastly, one of the most significant changes to the new guidelines is a lowered sodium limit — from 2,300 mg per day to 1,500 for all adults who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including some children, and the majority of adults.
Read the full guidelines in the text below:
DIETARY GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS, 2010
Eating and physical activity patterns that are focused on consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active can help people attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce their risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health.
The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 exemplifies these strategies through recommendations that accommodate the food preferences, cultural traditions, and customs of the many and diverse groups who live in the United States.
By law (Public Law 101-445, Title III, 7 U.S.C. 5301 et seq.), Dietary Guidelines for Americans is reviewed, updated if necessary, and published every 5 years. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) jointly create each edition. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is based on the Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and consideration of Federal agency and public comments.
Dietary Guidelines recommendations traditionally have been intended for healthy Americans ages 2 years and older. However, Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is being released at a time of rising concern about the health of the American population.
Poor diet and physical inactivity are the most important factors contributing to an epidemic of overweight and obesity affecting men, women, and children in all segments of our society. Even in the absence of overweight, poor diet and physical inactivity are associated with major causes of morbidity and mortality in the United States. Therefore, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 is intended for Americans ages 2 years and older, including those at increased risk of chronic disease.
Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 also recognizes that in recent years nearly 15 percent of American households have been unable to acquire adequate food to meet their needs.1 This dietary guidance can help them maximize the nutritional content of their meals. Many other Americans consume less than optimal intake of certain nutrients even though they have adequate resources for a healthy diet. This dietary guidance and nutrition information can help them choose a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet.
The intent of the Dietary Guidelines is to summarize and synthesize knowledge about individual nutrients and food components into an interrelated set of recommendations for healthy eating that can be adopted by the public. Taken together, the Dietary Guidelines recommendations encompass two over-arching concepts:
- Maintain calorie balance over time to achieve and sustain a healthy weight. People who are most successful at achieving and maintaining a healthy weight do so through continued attention to consuming only enough calories from foods and beverages to meet their needs and by being physically active. To curb the obesity epidemic and improve their health, many Americans must decrease the calories they consume and increase the calories they expend through physical activity.
- Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods and beverages. Americans currently consume too much sodium and too many calories from solid fats, added sugars, and refined grains.2 These replace nutrient-dense foods and beverages and make it difficult for people to achieve recommended nutrient intake while controlling calorie and sodium intake. A healthy eating pattern limits intake of sodium, solid fats, added sugars, and refined grains and emphasizes nutrient-dense foods and beverages—vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products,3 seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds.
A basic premise of the Dietary Guidelines is that nutrient needs should be met primarily through consuming foods. In certain cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise might be consumed in less than recommended amounts. Two eating patterns that embody the Dietary Guidelines are the USDA Food Patterns and their vegetarian adaptations and the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Eating Plan.
A healthy eating pattern needs not only to promote health and help to decrease the risk of chronic diseases, but it also should prevent foodborne illness. Four basic food safety principles (Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill) work together to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses. In addition, some foods (such as milks, cheeses, and juices that have not been pasteurized, and undercooked animal foods) pose high risk for foodborne illness and should be avoided.
The information in the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is used in developing educational materials and aiding policymakers in designing and carrying out nutrition-related programs, including Federal food, nutrition education, and information programs. In addition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans has the potential to offer authoritative statements as provided for in the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act (FDAMA).
The following are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 Key Recommendations, listed by the chapter in which they are discussed in detail. These Key Recommendations are the most important in terms of their implications for improving public health.4 To get the full benefit, individuals should carry out the Dietary Guidelines recommendations in their entirety as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.
Balancing calories to Manage weight
- Prevent and/or reduce overweight and obesity through improved eating and physical activity behaviors.
- Control total calorie intake to manage body weight. For people who are overweight or obese, this will mean consuming fewer calories from foods and beverages.
- Increase physical activity and reduce time spent in sedentary behaviors.
- Maintain appropriate calorie balance during each stage of life—childhood, adolescence, adulthood, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and older age.
Foods and food components to reduce
- Reduce daily sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) and further reduce intake to 1,500 mg among persons who are 51 and older and those of any age who are African American or have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The 1,500 mg recommendation applies to about half of the U.S. population, including children, and the majority of adults.
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids by replacing them with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Consume less than 300 mg per day of dietary cholesterol.
- Keep trans fatty acid consumption as low as possible by limiting foods that contain synthetic sources of trans fats, such as partially hydrogenated oils, and by limiting other solid fats.
- Reduce the intake of calories from solid fats and added sugars.
- Limit the consumption of foods that contain refined grains, especially refined grain foods that contain solid fats, added sugars, and sodium.
- If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.5
Foods and nutrients to increase
Individuals should meet the following recommendations as part of a healthy eating pattern while staying within their calorie needs.
- Increase vegetable and fruit intake.
- Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green and red and orange vegetables and beans and peas.
- Consume at least half of all grains as whole grains. Increase whole-grain intake by replacing refined grains with whole grains.
- Increase intake of fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.6
- Choose a variety of protein foods, which include seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, beans and peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
- Increase the amount and variety of seafood consumed by choosing seafood in place of some meat and poultry.
- Replace protein foods that are higher in solid fats with choices that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are sources of oils.
- Use oils to replace solid fats where possible.
- Choose foods that provide more potassium, dietary fiber, calcium, and vitamin D, which are nutrients of concern in American diets. These foods include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and milk and milk products.
- Recommendations for specific population groups
- Women capable of becoming pregnant7
- Choose foods that supply heme iron, which is more readily absorbed by the body, additional iron sources, and enhancers of iron absorption such as vitamin C-rich foods.
- Consume 400 micrograms (mcg) per day of synthetic folic acid (from fortified foods and/or supplements) in addition to food forms of folate from a varied diet.8
- Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding7
- Consume 8 to 12 ounces of seafood per week from a variety of seafood types.
- Due to their high methyl mercury content, limit white (albacore) tuna to 6 ounces per week and do not eat the following four types of fish: tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel.
- If pregnant, take an iron supplement, as recommended by an obstetrician or other health care provider.
- Individuals ages 50 years and older
- Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals, or dietary supplements.
Building healthy eating Patterns
- Select an eating pattern that meets nutrient needs over time at an appropriate calorie level.
- Account for all foods and beverages consumed and assess how they fit within a total healthy eating pattern.
- Follow food safety recommendations when preparing and eating foods to reduce the risk of foodborne illnesses.
1. Nord M, Coleman-Jensen A, Andrews M, Carlson S. Household food security in the United States, 2009. Washington (DC): U.S. Department of
Agriculture, Economic Research Service. 2010 Nov. Economic Research Report No. ERR-108. Available from http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/err108.
2. Added sugars: Caloric sweeteners that are added to foods during processing, preparation, or consumed separately. Solid fats: Fats with a high content of saturated and/or trans fatty acids, which are usually solid at room temperature. Refined grains: Grains and grain products missing the bran, germ, and/or endosperm; any grain product that is not a whole grain.
3. Milk and milk products also can be referred to as dairy products.
4. Information on the type and strength of evidence supporting the Dietary Guidelines recommendations can be found at http://www.nutritionevidencelibrary.gov
5. See Chapter 3, Foods and Food Components to Reduce, for additional recommendations on alcohol consumption and specific population groups. There are many circumstances when people should not drink alcohol.
6. Fortified soy beverages have been marketed as “soymilk,” a product name consumers could see in supermarkets and consumer materials. However, FDA’s regulations do not contain provisions for the use of the term soymilk. Therefore, in this document, the term “fortified soy beverage” includes products that may be marketed as soymilk.
7. Includes adolescent girls.
8. “Folic acid” is the synthetic form of the nutrient; whereas, “folate” is the form found naturally in foods.