Health Law Daily Dietary guidelines encourage healthy eating patterns
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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Dietary guidelines encourage healthy eating patterns

By Sarah E. Baumann, J.D.

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans focus on healthy eating patterns and a shift to healthier food and beverage choices. The 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines, released by HHS and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), is the first edition to recommend a qualitative limit to consume less than 10 percent of daily calories from added sugars. The agencies emphasized the importance of the science-based guidelines in preventing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

According to the Dietary Guidelines, a healthy eating pattern should include the following: a variety of vegetables; fruits; grains, at least half of which are whole grains; fat-free or low-fat dairy; a variety of protein foods; and oils. Americans are encouraged to consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from sugars and syrups added to foods or beverage during processing or preparation; this limit does not include naturally occurring sugars, such as those in fruit or milk. Americans are also encouraged to consume less than 10 percent of daily calories from saturated fats and less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium for people over age 14; children younger than 14 should consume even less sodium.

HHS and the USDA release updated Dietary Guidelines every five years in accordance with the National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-445). The guidelines are based on the preponderance of current scientific knowledge and apply to all individuals aged 2 years and older.

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