This week was an exciting time in the world of nutrition because the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released.
These guidelines are revised every 5 years and give nutrition recommendations for the general public. There is really not a ‘one size fits all’ set of nutrition recommendations, but I usually refer someone to the DGA if they ask me a general nutrition question.
Here are a few highlights that I thought you guys might be interested in:
All About the Sugar
The main shift in the new guidelines is focusing on restricting sugar. The previous guidelines really focused on fats… but what happened was everyone started buying all “low-fat” products and consumed way too many processed carbohydrates.
Excessive sugar intake is linked to weight gain, obesity and many chronic diseases. Added sugar is hidden everywhere in our diets… salad dressing, flavored diary products, drinks (soda, sweet tea, sports drinks), and snack foods.
No more limit on cholesterol
There have been plenty of studies indicating that dietary cholesterol does not affect serum cholesterol. Saturated and trans fats are what we need to worry about in this area. Even so, there is no longer a specific fat limit anymore either.
Still Recommends low-fat or non-fat dairy
There has been a big push to no longer follow low-fat diets. And while I can get behind this to some degree, I think we need to remember that more fats = higher calories. Over half of our population is obese so we need to be conscientious of our caloric intake while still making well-balanced choices. So I can see why recommending fat limitations with dairy is still included.
Watch the Sodium
The DGA still recommends limiting sodium. This has been controversial because some studies indicate that extreme sodium restrictions could actually have negative health effects. I think they jury is still out on this. Just remember that we get most of the salt in our diet from processed foods rather than the salt shaker.
I honestly feel like almost all dietary recommendations come back to this: quit eating excessively processed foods and focus your diet on lean proteins, fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Processed foods will be higher in sodium, fat, sugar and generally provide less nutritional value compared to more natural products.
So while they did change up a few of the recommendations, the overall theme is still the same.
Have you ever read the Dietary Guidelines for Americans?
Do you have anything fun planned for this weekend?