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New Dietary Guidelines Released by USDA

By , Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
UPDATE 5/17/21:  Dietary Guidelines for 2020-2025 are now available.

This week, the USDA and HSS released their
2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition to serving as a handy tool for planning your own personal meals, these guidelines, which are only released once every five years, also influence the nutritional content of school lunches and federal food programs across the country.

Much of the report reinforces the same best practices we've been hearing for decades, like eating plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean protein. But there are also some new recommendations that may surprise you.

Cracking Down on Sugar

For the first time ever, the USDA has issued a specific limit on sugar intake. According to the report, added sugars should make up no more than 10 percent of our daily calorie intake (preferably less). If you're eating 2,000 calories a day, that's a mere 200 calories, or a little over 12 teaspoons—roughly equivalent to a can of regular soda. This number refers specifically to added sugars, not the natural sugars that are found in fruits, veggies and some dairy products.

Are you consuming too much added sugar? See our tips on breaking your sugar addiction.

Giving Cholesterol a Pass

After spending decades as a nutritional villain, cholesterol gets a bit of a reprieve in the new report. Although the UDSA still recommends keeping dietary cholesterol to a minimum, they've lifted the specific cap of 300 milligrams per day. This goes along with recent research showing that dietary cholesterol has less of an impact on blood cholesterol (aka: the dangerous type) as previously thought. So go ahead and enjoy the occasional egg—the benefits of the protein, antioxidants and vitamin/mineral content will likely outweigh any cholesterol-associated risk.

Keep in mind that diet is only responsible for about 20 percent of your cholesterol levels. Find out what other factors influence your cholesterol.

Bye Bye, Bad Fats

Saturated fats are known to increase the risk of heart disease, so it's no surprise that the USDA frowns upon them. This latest report recommends that saturated fats—found primarily in animal fat products like butter, cheese, whole mik, bacon and fatty meats—make up no more than 10 percent of daily caloric intake.

Need help finding healthier fat sources? See our fats reference guide for specific food guidelines.

Too Much Protein for Males?

Another surprising takeaway from the USDA's new report is that teen boys and men are eating too much meat, poultry and eggs. Specifically, the report states that "average intakes of meats, poultry and eggs, a subgroup of the protein foods group, are above recommendations in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern for teen boys and adult men." However, the actual protein intake recommendations for men and women are still the same as they were five years ago.

Looking for alternate protein sources? Find out how to meet your protein needs without meat.

What do you think of the new dietary guidelines? How does your nutrition plan measure up?

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RD03875 6/19/2021
Interesting Report
CD26750174 5/14/2021
CECELW 11/15/2020
these are the guidelines?...hmm Report
CECELW 11/15/2020
ive read this before Report
VHAYES04 9/24/2020
Ty Report
CECELW 9/17/2020
changed again? Report
Raised an eyebrow to this article. Report
thank you Report
2015? Time for an update to this article! Report
Awesome...thanks for sharing... Report
Good article, but now these recommendations are 5 years old. Have they changed since 2015? Report
Good need-to-know information. Report
To much protein huh? I'll have to work on that. Report
I love this article. Thank you for making it easy to read and explain everything. It's mainly is saying that you will do good when you have balanced meals for long time. Will this coming out today change the requirements for the day when I log my food? Report
Balanced meals Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
Including more strength building exercise - increases the metabolism! Yes, good to be reminded. I am great with walking, but can’t seem to find a strength building routine that sticks! Great info Report
much better than before Report
Nice comments on this subject Report
for GODMYPORTIONNOW the sugar tracker is under other nutrients. it tracks by grams. hope that helps you. Report
I wish they had these suggestions years ago. Report
thanks Report
Great info! Thanks! Report
Hopefully Trump doesn't get his hands on this Report
Well...still the same old crap pushed out by the government to cover up the fact that they only have corralatory "research" to support not eating saturated fats which basically means nothing Report
Well...still the same old crap pushed out by the government to cover up the fact that they only have corralatory "research" to support not eating saturated fats which basically means nothing Report
Well, if 2 years old is "new" lol!
The basics stay the same so that's the tried and true method I'll stick with. Where I can have an apple and some oatmeal instead of doing the fad low carb diets. Report
interesting Report
Good thoughts...not sure how accurate. Report
I think too much food is being shot up by steroids to make the animal grow faster. Look at the development of the young girls & high school boys they have beards & mustaches at 16 Report
I am not surprise that males eat too much protein. Report
News flash ... it's NOT saturated fats to blame, it's the TRANS FATS. Thank the powers that be the US government is making the food makers eliminate Trans Fats from their products. Report
Not sure why an outdated article is being todays top article. It was new over 2 years ago. Report
It’s NOW 2018, and this info is almost 3 years old, and far from “new.” The information still is not scientifically accurate, and medical professionals and scientists - AND more of we, the public- now are calling FOUL on U.S. dietary “guidelines” that have far more to do with corporate food and producers’ profits than what internationally recognised metabolic science actually says. We are now fighting for FACTS in the 2020 U.S. food guidelines! I think 2018-2019 is the deadline for finalising the 2020 guidelines! Check the websites of nutrition-coalition.org and dietdoctor.com for more information. Report
Sugar's the really bad one for me. I try to avoid added sugar at all costs. Report
Everything in moderation. A person can eat just about anything they want. They just cannot eat the HUGE portion size they want! I am on a sugarfree challenge right now. I love sugar, especially chocolate. I have been without for nearly 2 weeks now. I don't care for anything super sweet now. I pray that God will direct my path to continue No Added Sugars. Report
I raise an eyebrow at any recommendations from the government. A great book to read: Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, where she describes the history of federal nutritional recommendations. As you can imagine, there was a lot of lobbying and industrial incentives going on. Report
CAT by CJ is right on the mark here! What a bunch of baloney in these guidelines. Report
My own experience with the federal health sector leads me to regard any consensus statements as having a significant political content. Report
you can thank the atkins diet for the guys eating too much protein. the best rule of thumb is everything in moderation. Report
I think they are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to sugar--and even slower other areas. I guess they are trying to wean people little by little. No matter--people need to do their own research and find what works for them. Report
I remember learning about the 4 food groups in 5th and 6th grades. Everything was simple, even if it was wrong! I miss that. Pyramids, plates, drawing up new guidelines...it's exhausting! But I guess the gov is interested in keeping us all healthy, so I better listen! Report
Very informative, thank you. Report
Sounds like the dairy industry made someone mad and the meat producers are back in good standing . . . . wonder what it'll be next. Sorry, I don't trust the 'talking heads' . . . it's been proved that they can be bought, and they're more concerned with their political activist groups (dairy or meat industry) than they are my health. Report
"saturated fats are known to increase the risk of heart disease". Actually from what I've read recently, this has never been proven at all. In fact, heart disease has INCREASED even though fat has been decreased in foods. Trans fats and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats HAVE been proven to increase the risk of heart disease, but not saturated fats. I'm sure it's still better to eat more unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and limit saturated ones, but we shouldn't blame saturated fats if there isn't proof. Report
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