The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines

The Department of Health & Human Services and the USDA have just released the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, and we are excited to share points we feel are important to note. The Dietary Guidelines are updated every five years and include science-based recommendations for ways to improve how Americans eat for "reducing obesity and preventing chronic diseases like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease." The Guidelines are a resource on which nutrition policy, school nutrition guidelines, and health professionals' advice is based. The Advisory Committee is made up of researchers from the nutrition, medicine and health fields.


The newly updated Guidelines highlight the message of eating a variety of foods and nutrients rather than focusing on singled out ingredients/nutrients. They note that it is important to focus on "healthy eating patterns" as a whole over someone's lifetime. This edition covers five main categories:

Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time.

A healthy eating pattern varies depending on a person's culture, tastes and budget. The key is to focus on consuming a variety of wholesome, healthful foods over an extensive amount of time.

Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount

Such foods include fruits, vegetables, grains, lean meat, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and other proteins/oils. One should limit trans fats, saturated fats, sodium and added sugars.


Our SuperFood Series 2016 focuses on incorporating healthful ingredients like these into one's diet.

Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake

The Guidelines encourage these standards:

  • Less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars. (This does not include naturally occurring sugars like those in milk and fruit).
  • Less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.
  • Less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium for people over the age of 14 years and less for those younger. (The key here is to limit processed foods like sauces and soups).

Shift to healthier food and beverage choices

It is suggested that Americans consume the following for a balanced, healthier diet:

  • A variety of vegetables, including dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy and other vegetables
  • 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), soy products, and nuts and seeds
  • Oils, including those from plants: canola, corn, olive, peanut, safflower, soybean, and sunflower. Oils also are naturally present in nuts, seeds, seafood, olives, and avocados.

Support healthy eating patterns for all

Specific new developments have emerged from these Guidelines. Updates include guidance on areas such as sodium, cholesterol, added sugars and caffeine information. One noteworthy addition was that of a recommended quantitative limit on consuming less that 10% of calories from added sugars.

For more detail and a full listing of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, check out,, and