Just in time for many of us who are setting weight loss, healthy eating, and exercise goals, the new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have just been released by the the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS)! Overall, the guidelines focus less on individual nutrients and superfoods and more on a healthy balanced that includes whole foods from all food groups. It’s the overall eating pattern that matters and no one part is more important than the others. Of course, we can’t forget about physical activity most days of the week either! Sounds familiar right?
The recommendations highlight eat more:
- Vegetables and fruits of a variety of colors
- Grains (at least half should be whole)
- Fat-free or low-fat dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages)
- A variety of proteins (including lean meats, seafood, nuts, and legumes)
And eat less:
- Added sugars to less than 10% of our total daily calorie intake
- and saturated fats to less than 10% of our total daily calorie intake
- Keep sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day.
The new kid on the block this time around and what many health professionals have been waiting for is the new cap on added sugars. Added sugars include everything from natural sweeteners like honey to processed ones like high fructose corn syrup. The body treats all simple sugars the same in how it breaks it down for energy so whether it is locally grown honey or corn syrup in the frozen waffles; to your body they’re equal. 10% of a 2000-calorie diet equals about 12 teaspoons of sugar daily or the amount in a 16 oz. soda!
The move to make added sugars more visible on food labels may take a couple of years to show up, ShopWell’s app and website will now show how much of an individual’s daily sugar intake is contained in a single serving of a food item. With over 300,000 items in its food database, ShopWell is the quickest way to see the impact of the changes as well as helping you stay on your New Year’s resolution goals!
Wayne is a Silicon Valley local. He holds a B.S in Clinical Nutrition from U.C. Davis and M.S in Sports Nutrition from Marywood University and is a current dietetic intern at Fresno State. He spends most of his time weightlifting and running which is probably unbalanced by his major weakness for desserts.