The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are Federal guidelines intended for all Americans 2 years and older on healthy eating and physical activity. The DGA is based on the most current research and is reviewed, updated and published every 5 years in a joint effort by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) made up of health and nutrition experts.
The new guidelines will affect federal school lunches, food labels, and a number of federal funded community programs. Both consumers and health professionals use the guidelines for consistent dietary recommendations based on evidenced based research.
The final draft has not yet been published, however here are the proposed changes to look out for in the new guidelines:
- The guidelines will be based on the new MyPlate icon, which replaced the Food Pyramid a few years ago.
- There have never been limits or recommended allowances for sugar consumption, however the new 2015 guidelines may now include specific limits on added sugars that will be added to nutrition facts labels. The proposed recommendations advise that 10% of caloric intake come from added sugars, which equates to about 50 grams of sugar a day for the average person.
- The 2010 guidelines already recommend choosing lean cuts of meat and consuming a variety of types of protein. However, the 2015 guidelines propose to not only choose lean cuts of meat but to consume fewer red and processed types of meat.
- The current 2010 guidelines recommend that pregnant women avoid caffeine all together, however the new 2015 guidelines propose that caffeine intake be less than 200 milligrams a day, which equates to about 2 cups a day.
- A note on sustainability may be added to the new guidelines as well. A plant-based diet, which is good for both your health and the environment, will be recommended in the new 2015 guidelines.
The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans remain the most current guidelines and the revised 2015 guidelines remains in the process of being finalized. You can view the current 2010 guidelines and check the progress of the new 2015 guidelines at: www.DietaryGuidelines.gov.
Special thanks to Dietetic Intern Jenny Legrand for her contributions to this post.