Every five years since 1980, a new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Promoting health and preventing disease are the goals of these guidelines. New research is always being formed and the DGA are created based on the current findings.
Some new things you’ll find in the DGA includes shifting to honor cultural diversity and different eating practices. All individuals can benefit from a healthy eating pattern, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or health status. The DGA are meant to serve as a framework that can be customized to you.
In addition, you can also find specific advice for each life stage, infancy through older adulthood. The DGA stresses the importance of creating healthy eating patterns instead of focusing on individual foods regardless of where you are in life. It’s never too early or late to eat healthfully!
The new DGA are broken down into four main points:
Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage
Customize your choices to reflect personal preferences, culture, and lifestyle
Focus on meeting food group needs by adding nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits. Elements of a healthy eating pattern include: Vegetables of all types, whole fruits, grains (half of which are whole grain), dairy products that are fat-free or low-fat and/or lactose-free alternatives, protein foods (both animal and plant-based) and oils (including vegetable oils and oils in food like seafood and nuts)
Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limit alcohol
The DGA acts as a resource everyone can use to make healthier food choices. It’s frequently updated to reflect the most accurate science. The most recent update is formatted in life stage sections, so you can find what’s relevant to you more easily. Check it out for yourself at dietaryguidelines.gov!