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  • Karen Buch, RDN, LDN

NEW Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The 8th editition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released today, encourage all of us to eat more fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seafood, beans, and legumes. They also advise us to moderate caffeine and alcohol, and limit some foods including sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and meat, especially the highly-processed types. They state that a healthy eating pattern limits saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium. Notably, the newest edition of the guidelines does not place a limit on dietary cholesterol. The challenge for many of us is to put these words into action consistently in our daily lives. This simple infographic offers a good reminder of the five overarching principles, followed by the key recommendations set forth.


Key Recommendations

The Dietary Guidelines’ Key Recommendations for healthy eating patterns should be applied in their entirety, given the interconnected relationship that each dietary component can have with others.

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, and other

  • Fruits, especially whole fruits

  • 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

  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits:

  • Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

  • 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)

In tandem with the recommendations above, Americans of all ages—children, adolescents, adults, and older adults—should Meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease. Americans should aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight.

Visit to view the complete Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020.



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