Infectious Disease

USDA, HHS publish new dietary pointers

December 30, 2020

2 min read

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The U.S. Department of Agriculture and HHS have released the Dietary Guidelines for 2020-2025 to promote healthy eating within calorie limits.

The agencies said the recommendations, which are updated every 5 years, “reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions and budgetary considerations”.

For the first time ever, the guide also includes recommendations for healthy eating for infants and young children, with suggestions that can be started at any point in life or throughout a person’s life span.

“We took the very important step of providing nutritional advice that can help all Americans lead healthier lives by making every bite count.” Sonny Perdue, Agriculture Minister said in a press release.

Some recommendations include:

  • Consume as many different vegetables, fruits (especially whole grains), grains (at least 50% whole grains), fat-free or low-fat or lactose-free dairy products, fortified soy beverages, lean meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, beans, peas, lentils and nuts such as possible;
  • Limiting the intake of added sugars and saturated fats to less than 10% of daily calories in persons aged 2 and over and no such intake in persons under 2 years of age;
  • Consumption of less than 2,300 mg sodium per day in people aged 14 and over, with lower limits for people under 14 years of age; and
  • Limiting the daily consumption of alcoholic beverages to a maximum of two drinks for men and one drink for women.

Alex Azar

“The new nutritional guidelines use the best available evidence to give Americans the information they need to make healthy choices for themselves and their families,” said HHS secretary Alex Azar said in the publication.

Mitchell SV Elkind

Mitchell SV Elkind, M.D, MS, FAHA, FAAN, President of the American Heart Association said in a press release that the AHA was “pleased” For the first time, guidelines contain recommendations for infants and young children.

“However, we are disappointed that the USDA and HHS did not accept all of the science-based recommendations of the Nutritional Guidelines Advisory Committee in the final 2020 guidelines, including the recommendation to reduce added sugar consumption to less than 6% of calories,” he added added.

The AHA said “many adults and children are short of space in their diets for empty calories,” including refined fruit juices and sugary drinks. These patients must “go below 10% in order to have a healthy eating pattern and meet their essential nutritional needs.”

Resources to educate others about food choices can be found on the USDA’s MyPlate website.

References:

American Heart Association. The federal dietary guidelines emphasize healthy eating habits, but too little sugar. https://newsroom.heart.org/news/federal-dietary-guidelines-emphasize-healthy-eating-habits-butfall-short-on-added-sugars. Accessed December 29, 2020.

USDA. https://www.usda.gov/media/press-releases/2020/12/29/make-every-bite-count-usda-hhs-release-dietary-guidelines-americans. Make Every Bite Count: USDA, HHS Publish Nutritional Guidelines For Americans, 2020-2025. Accessed December 29, 2020.

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