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Healthy Food

Summary of the New Dietary Guidelines

Posted on February 1, 2016

The U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and of Agriculture (USDA) are required to jointly publish new dietary guidelines every 5 years. The new guidelines for 2015-2020 were released in January of 2016. The recommendations in these guidelines are based on current scientific and medical knowledge. You are probably familiar with most of the recommendations. They include healthy eating patterns involving a variety of vegetables, whole fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and a variety of lean proteins, all while limiting intake of saturated and trans-fats. So what’s new?

Added sugars have been a hot topic for some time now. They can cause many diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. However, until now there have been no specific recommendations. The new guidelines state that less than 10% of total daily calories should be consumed from added sugars. Although the amount of added sugars are not yet included on a food label, you can look for ingredients like fructose, sucrose, corn syrup, or honey. To avoid these added sugars, switch out your regular soda for seltzer and a splash of cranberry juice. Also, eating whole fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help reduce the amount of added sugars in your diet.

The other major change involves protein in males. The guidelines say males are consuming too much protein and should “reduce their overall intake of protein foods”. Protein foods include meat, poultry, and eggs. Other key recommendations include consuming less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day and if alcohol is consumed, it should be done so in moderation (one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men).

In addition to eating healthy, physical activity is important! It is recommended that adults need 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity along with muscle strengthening activities 2 or more days per week. Moderate intensity physical activity can include brisk walking, water aerobics, bicycling, yoga, and many other activities.

As always, before making any major changes to your diet or physical activity please consult with your physician or Fagen pharmacist!


  1. Dietary guidelines for Americans 2015-2020. Available at: Accessed January 12, 2015.
  2. New U.S. dietary guidelines rethink cholesterol. Available at: Accessed January 12, 2015.

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