US dietary guidelines come under fire

The highly anticipated 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have come under fire since they were released in the first week of January.

Nutrition experts say that while there were useful updates from the previous (2010) guidelines, such as a specific limit on sugar intake to less than 10% of calories, a lot of the recommendations of the Scientific Advisory Committee were not included. Others said Americans needed more forceful messages.

It was acknowledged, though, that despite some shortcomings, for most people, following the Dietary Guidelines will improve their nutritional status and health.

The guidelines provide five overarching points that encourage healthy eating patterns, recognise that people will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern, and acknowledge that all segments of society have a role to play in supporting healthy choices:

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.

See the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans here

Read reaction on Food Navigator-USA here

Read reaction on Time Magazine here