The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were recently released. They emphasize that a healthy eating pattern isn’t a rigid prescription, but is adaptable so that individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget. This edition of the Dietary Guidelines focuses on shifts to emphasize the need to make substitutions—choosing nutrient-dense foods and beverages in place of less healthy choices.
An eating pattern represents the totality of all foods and beverages consumed. All foods consumed as part of a healthy eating pattern fit together like a puzzle to meet nutritional needs without exceeding limits, such as those for saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and total calories. All forms of foods—including fresh, canned, dried, and frozen—can be included in healthy eating patterns.
Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts.
Healthy eating patterns are adaptable. Individuals have more than one way to achieve a healthy eating pattern. Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.
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. New to this edition is a specified limit to help achieve a healthy pattern 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 per day of sodium.
For more information on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines, visit