The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has recently released the updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines are updated every 5 years based on the new science conducted around nutrition and human health. These recommendations are important because of all of the misinformation and confusion surrounding nutrition topics. Fortunately, there are doctors, scientists, researchers and dietitians who work year-round to come up with the most accurate and practical nutritional recommendations to optimize human health.
It is important to remember that the dietary guidelines are just that — guidelines. They are not rules that dietitians follow by the letter and apply to every client and patient they see and treat. They are merely there to guide your decisions surrounding food and individualize them based on your lifestyle, goals, socioeconomic status and various other factors. Hopefully, with continuous monitoring of science and proper nutrition education, these guidelines can help us to improve the health of America as a whole.
The full report is 835 pages long with many of the guidelines and recommendations remaining the same. However, there have been several key changes to take note of that we want to bring to the attention of our readers:
- The previous alcohol recommendation of 2 drinks a day for men and 1 drink a day for women has been reduced to 1 drink a day for men and the same recommendation for women. Also, it was previously suggested that moderate drinking could promote health benefits, particularly in the context of red wine. However, that advice has since been rescinded. Now, it is suggested that those that abstain from alcohol completely have better health outcomes than those that drink even moderately.
- Previous guidelines recommended limiting added sugar consumption to just 10% of caloric intake. Meaning, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, no more than 200 of those calories should have been coming from added sugar. Now, the recommendation has been reduced further to 6% of caloric intake. This is due to our current added sugar intake still being much too high at about 13% of energy intake. This excess of sugar intake is especially among children and mostly comes from fruit juices.
- Due to promising emerging science in allergens, it is being recommended to feed peanuts, eggs, and other foods that can cause sensitivities to babies in the first year of life. might lower risk of allergies in adulthood. Feeding eggs in particular to children ages 0-2 as well as for pregnant and lactating women has shown to not only to reduce the risk of an egg allergy but could support adequate fetal brain development in babies and pregnant women respectively.
- The USDA cannot yet recommend nor discourage the practice of intermittent fasting with the current science. It does say, though, eating three meals per day is associated with better diet quality than two, and late-night meals and snacks tend to include more unhealthy foods. As of right now, the practice intermittent fasting is a personal choice and should still be undergone under the supervision of a nutrition professional.
- Finally, the USDA found it important to reinforce that dietary cholesterol is not a nutrient of concern nor are eggs detrimental to heart health, despite the recent belief that they are. It was also stated that we still consume an excess of sodium. The use of MSG in cooking could help mitigate this while still giving your food flavor as it as MSG has 2/3 less sodium than table salt.
The final draft of the changes will be available later in 2020. Stay tuned to see if there are any updates.