Highlights of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

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The latest edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans was released at the veeeeeeeeery end of 2020, and we're here to help you navigate everything you need to know!

We'll begin with today's overview of the highlights of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Then, in the weeks to come, we'll explore the differences between this edition and past editions, as well as the differences between this edition and the Scientific Report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. We'll address how your clients can start putting this guidance into action, and we'll also sprinkle in individual perspectives and insights from our amazing team of dietitians.

So, let's get cracking!

The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are available as a downloadable PDF. There are lots of resources at the main website, including...

In the meantime, here are the highlights of the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans...

  • The link between health and what we eat has been well-documented.
  • The goals of the guidelines are to offer recommendations about eating patterns that "promote health, reduce risk of chronic disease, and meet nutrient needs."

The guidelines emphasize 3 guiding principles...

  1. Chronic diseases related to diet (diabetes, heart disease, obesity, etc) are a serious public health issue. "Just about everyone, no matter their health status, can benefit from shifting food and beverage choices to better support healthy dietary patterns."
  2. Since nutrients and even foods aren't exactly consumed in isolation, it makes sense to look at overall dietary patterns.
  3. This approach should incorporate information for the entire lifespan.

There are 4 main strategies/areas of focus...

  1. Choose a healthful eating pattern at each life stage.
  2. Select nutrient-dense foods and use them to build an eating pattern that works for your cultural background, budget, and preferences.
  3. Choose nutrient-dense foods to meet your calorie needs, then stay within those needs (don't eat excess calories).
  4. Limit saturated fats, added sugars, alcohol, and sodium.

Plus, there are 2 important terms to know...

  • Dietary Patterns: These are the combination of all the drinks and foods a person consumes over time. It could be a general custom or a description of various food groupings.
  • Nutrient-Dense: These foods and drinks offer "health-promoting components" like vitamins and minerals in meaningful amounts while staying low in unhealthful elements like saturated fat and added sugars.

Let's conclude with this final thought from the guidelines: "This edition of the Dietary Guidelines presents overall guidance on choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages in place of less healthy choices and also discusses special nutrition considerations for individuals at each life stage."

There's lots more to come, so stick around!



Here is a handout on healthy eating patterns

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