The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) jointly publish the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (Dietary Guidelines) every 5 years. Each edition of the Dietary Guidelines reflects the body of nutrition science and is designed to help Americans eat a healthier diet. Intended for policymakers and health professionals, this edition of the Dietary Guidelines outlines how people can improve their overall eating patterns and strive for long-term health.
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, yogurt, 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
A healthy eating pattern limits:
Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium
Key Recommendations that are quantitative are provided for several components of the diet that should be limited. 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 milligrams (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.