Washington – The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Agriculture released on Thursday the new Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Overall, the guidelines recommendations have not changed much as it includes eating fruits and vegetables, whole grains and seafood but for the first time a quantitative limit on added sugars, no more than 10 percent of total calories, is being recommended.
Dietary guidelines have been released, by the U.S. government, every five years since 1980. Its purpose is to help Americans stay healthy. This time, the recommendations issued by the 14 members of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee presented a few changes compared to the last issue.
Even though most of the standard healthy recommendations like eating lots of vegetables, fruits and lean meats have not changed, this issue added some not so traditionally healthy foods, including sugar, cholesterol, sodium and saturated fats.
For instance, the last guideline said that consuming proteins such as lean meat, poultry and seafood is part of a balanced diet but that we should replace foods high in solid fats with those that are lower in solid fats and calories and/or are a source of oils.
This year’s guideline says we should eat a variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, and nuts and seeds, but it also says that we should get less than 10 percent of daily calories from saturated fats and meats that are high in saturated fat.
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee explained the slight changes included in every issue are due to updated researches and investigations done through the years.
“I think that nutrition is a moving target and that certainly things have been changing and some criticisms that have come out from dietary guidelines are due to the expectation that we’re supposed to know everything and we don’t. Things change over time and that’s okay,” Sheila Tucker, executive dietitian and nutritionist at Boston College, said claiming that the changes included this year are the result of more research and study into nutrition over the last 35 years.
Changes in the recommendations have been done in the past. For example, from 1980 to 1990 the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said we should avoid cholesterol altogether, but in 1995, the government agencies recommended to consume no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol a day. This year’s guidelines no longer recommend a limit for cholesterol. The new recommendation is that people should eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible.