The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines provides five overarching Guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns, recognise 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
1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.
5. Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns in multiple settings nationwide, from home to school to work to communities.
Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level. A healthy eating pattern includes:
• A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups— dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
• Fruits, especially whole fruits
• Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
• Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yoghurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
• A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products
Importance of Calorie Balance Within Healthy Eating Patterns
Managing calorie intake is fundamental to achieving and maintaining calorie balance—the balance between the calories taken in from foods and the calories expended from metabolic processes and physical activity. The best way to determine whether an eating pattern is at an appropriate number of calories is to monitor body weight and adjust calorie intake and expenditure in physical activity based on changes in weight over time.
These components are of particular public health concern in the United States, and the specified limits can help individuals achieve healthy eating patterns within calorie limits:
• Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
• Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
• Consume less than 2,300 milligrammes (mg) per day of sodium
• If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.
In tandem with the recommendations above, Americans of all ages including children, adolescents, adults, and older adults should meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Americans should aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight. As such, the Dietary Guidelines includes a Key Recommendation to meet the Physical Activity Guidelines.