I apologize in advance for the wall of text post but thought that the USDA new 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines issued on Jan 7, 2016 was worthy of a Healthy Byte special edition two-parter post.
It’s important to note that the recommended daily total caloric intake is based on the average adult of average age & average height. So if you are not within the average group the data was based on you may very well be eating not enough or too much. Therefore I always recommend to take the USDA guidelines with a grain of salt, so-to-speak. The recommendations are a good fodder for tweaking macro nutrients. However, in lieu of the total daily caloric recommendation I’d strongly encourage you to calculate it based on your sex, age, level of activity, and goals using any number of online nutrition calculators. My personal favorite is this IIFYM TDEE / BMR calculator HERE. [TDEE is Total Daily Energy Expenditure – this is how much fuel the body needs according to how active you are. BMR is Basal Metabolic Rate – which is the bare minimum fuel your body needs if you were to wake up & just lay in bed doing nothing]. Both very important to at least be mildly aware of and serves as a good starting point for most.
I rerun my TDEE # every year on my birthday to ensure that I am not over eating for my age, height, and level of activity. One of the most interesting aspect of the USDA guidelines is it’s note on “eating patterns” rather than specific list of dos & don’ts which I think is a huge step in the right direction. No one becomes overweight with one candy bar or one soda. It is a continued pattern of eating calorie dense – nutritionally poor foods over time which eventually comes back to haunt us. So I hope you’ll find this helpful.
Over the past century, deficiencies of essential nutrients have dramatically decreased, many infectious diseases have been conquered, and the majority of the U.S. population can now anticipate a long and productive life. At the same time, rates of chronic diseases—many of which are related to poor quality diet and physical inactivity—have increased. About half of all American adults have one or more preventable, diet-related chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and overweight and obesity.
However, a large body of evidence now shows that healthy eating patterns and regular physical activity can help people achieve and maintain good health and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout all stages of the lifespan. The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans reflects this evidence through its recommendations.
The Dietary Guidelines is required under the 1990 National Nutrition Monitoring and Related Research Act, which states that every 5 years, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and of Agriculture (USDA) must jointly publish a report containing nutritional and dietary information and guidelines for the general public. The statute (Public Law 101-445, 7 U.S.C. 5341 et seq.) requires that the Dietary Guidelines be based on the preponderance of current scientific and medical knowledge. The 2015-2020 edition of the Dietary Guidelines builds from the 2010 edition with revisions based on the Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and consideration of Federal agency and public comments.
The Dietary Guidelines is designed for professionals to help all individuals ages 2 years and older and their families consume a healthy, nutritionally adequate diet. The information in the Dietary Guidelines is used in developing Federal food, nutrition, and health policies and programs. It also is the basis for Federal nutrition education materials designed for the public and for the nutrition education components of HHS and USDA food programs. It is developed for use by policymakers and nutrition and health professionals. Additional audiences who may use Dietary Guidelinesinformation to develop programs, policies, and communication for the general public include businesses, schools, community groups, media, the food industry, and State and local governments.
Previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines focused primarily on individual dietary components such as food groups and nutrients. However, people do not eat food groups and nutrients in isolation but rather in combination, and the totality of the diet forms an overall eating pattern. The components of the eating pattern can have interactive and potentially cumulative effects on health. These patterns can be tailored to an individual’s personal preferences, enabling Americans to choose the diet that is right for them. A growing body of research has examined the relationship between overall eating patterns, health, and risk of chronic disease, and findings on these relationships are sufficiently well established to support dietary guidance. As a result, eating patterns and their food and nutrient characteristics are a focus of the recommendations in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines.
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines provides five overarching Guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns, recognize that individuals will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern, and acknowledge that all segments of our society have a role to play in supporting healthy choices. These Guidelines also embody the idea that a healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription, but rather, an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget. Several examples of healthy eating patterns that translate and integrate the recommendations in overall healthy ways to eat are provided.
Key Recommendations provide further guidance on how individuals can follow the five Guidelines:
TERMS TO KNOW:
Several terms are used to operationalize the principles and recommendations of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines. These terms are essential to understanding the concepts discussed herein:
Eating pattern—The combination of foods and beverages that constitute an individual’s complete dietary intake over time. Often referred to as a “dietary pattern,” an eating pattern may describe a customary way of eating or a combination of foods recommended for consumption. Specific examples include USDA Food Patterns and the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan.
Nutrient dense—A characteristic of foods and beverages that provide vitamins, minerals, and other substances that contribute to adequate nutrient intakes or may have positive health effects, with little or no solid fats and added sugars, refined starches, and sodium. Ideally, these foods and beverages also are in forms that retain naturally occurring components, such as dietary fiber. All vegetables, fruits, whole grains, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, unsalted nuts and seeds, fat-free and low-fat dairy products, and lean meats and poultry—when prepared with little or no added solid fats, sugars, refined starches, and sodium—are nutrient-dense foods. These foods contribute to meeting food group recommendations within calorie and sodium limits. The term “nutrient dense” indicates the nutrients and other beneficial substances in a food have not been “diluted” by the addition of calories from added solid fats, sugars, or refined starches, or by the solid fats naturally present in the food.
Variety—A diverse assortment of foods and beverages across and within all food groups and subgroups selected to fulfill the recommended amounts without exceeding the limits for calories and other dietary components. For example, in the vegetables food group, selecting a variety of foods could be accomplished over the course of a week by choosing from all subgroups, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other vegetables.
An underlying premise of the Dietary Guidelines is that nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. All forms of foods, including fresh, canned, dried, and frozen, can be included in healthy eating patterns. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less-than-recommended amounts.
For most individuals, achieving a healthy eating pattern will require changes in food and beverage choices. This edition of the Dietary Guidelines focuses on shifts to emphasize the need to make substitutions—that is, choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages in place of less healthy choices—rather than increasing intake overall. Most individuals would benefit from shifting food choices both within and across food groups. Some needed shifts are minor and can be accomplished by making simple substitutions, while others will require greater effort to accomplish.
Although individuals ultimately decide what and how much to consume, their personal relationships; the settings in which they live, work, and shop; and other contextual factors strongly influence their choices. Concerted efforts among health professionals, communities, businesses and industries, organizations, governments, and other segments of society are needed to support individuals and families in making dietary and physical activity choices that align with the Dietary Guidelines. Everyone has a role, and these efforts, in combination and over time, have the potential to meaningfully improve the health of current and future generations.
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans at a Glance
The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines focuses on the big picture with recommendations to help Americans make choices that add up to an overall healthy eating pattern. To build a healthy eating pattern, combine healthy choices from across all food groups—while paying attention to calorie limits, too.
Check out the 5 Guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns:
Infographic: This is what three square meals look like under the new dietary guidelines
|Bagel with peanut butter and banana|
|Whole wheat bagel||1/2 regular bagel (4 ounces)|
|Creamy peanut butter||2 tablespoons|
|Coffee with milk and sugar|
|Whole milk||1/4 cup|
|Fat-free strawberry yogurt||8 ounces|
Total: 726 calories
|Tuna salad sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayo|
|100% whole wheat bread||2 slices|
|Canned tuna||2 ounces|
|Chopped celery||2 tablespoons|
|Lettuce||1 medium leaf|
|Carrots||4 baby carrots|
|Low-fat milk (1%)||1 cup|
Total: 507 calories
|Spaghetti and meatballs|
|Spaghetti||1 cup, cooked|
|Spaghetti sauce||1/4 cup|
|Diced tomatoes (canned, no salt added)||1/4 cup|
|Meatballs||3 medium meatballs|
|Parmesan cheese||1 tablespoon|
|Mixed greens||1 cup|
|Avocado||1/4 cup, cubed|
|Garbanzo beans (canned, low sodium)||1/4 cup|
|Cheddar cheese (reduced fat)||3 tablespoons, shredded|
|Ranch dressing||1 tablespoon|
|Apple, raw||1/2 medium|
|Water, tap||1 cup|
Total: 761 calories
|Sodium||2,253 mg||Daily limit: 2,300 mg|
|Saturated fats||153 calories (8% of total calories)||Recommendation: 10% of calories|
|Added sugars||164 calories (8% of total calories)||Recommendation: 10% of calories|