What You Need to Know About the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans


What are the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

The dietary guidelines for Americans is a report published every five years by the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and the USDA. The report is created to give current dietary recommendations for the general public. The report and recommendations are based on current scientific and medical knowledge/research.

What are the Recommendations?

1.) Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.

Meaning: Make healthy and balanced eating decisions/habits throughout your whole life.

Specific Goals: 

-Eat a variety of vegetables and fruit

– Make half your grains whole grains

– Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, soy beverages)

– Eat a variety of protein sources

2.) Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.

Meaning: A well balanced diet consists of eating a variety of food that has a lot of good nutrients that your body needs. And only eating what your body needs physically to continue functioning daily.

Specific Goals: 

-Meet your daily nutrient needs within your recommended calorie limit

Nutrient dense foods are foods that provide vitamins, minerals, and other substances that are needed for health but have little or no solid fats, added sugar, refined starches and sodium. So eat lots of nutrient dense foods!

3.) Limit Calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.

       Meaning: Drink less soda, sweet tea, juice, high caloric coffee drinks,etc. Watch your sodium intake which may require buying less prepackaged or precooked meals and eating out less often.

Specific Goals: 

– Consume <10% of calories/day from added sugars

-Consume <10% of calories from saturated fats

-Consume <2300 mg of sodium/day

4.) Shift to healthier food and beverage choices

Meaning: 90 % of the time try to make healthier food/beverage choices. 10% of time can be “splurge” choices.

Specific Goals:

– Choose nutrient dense foods over less healthy foods

– Drink more water!

5.) Support healthy eating patterns for all. 

Meaning: Help your family, children, friends, neighbors and co-workers to be healthy!

-Each individual is responsible for choosing what he or she will or wont eat. But as a family, community and country we can be supportive and encouraging to each other to make healthy choices.



U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th Edition. December 2015. Available athttp://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.

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