Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Next Five Years


We take health pretty seriously at H2PRO™.  And so we’ve been looking at what the next five years of nutrition advice looks like from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA).  Let’s check out what is new and maybe missing from these recommendations.

What is missing from these recommendations?

In a recent Washington Post article prominent nutritionists sounded off about what is missing from these recommendations.  Carlene Thomas R.D. and president of the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stated, “No mention is made of the impact of probiotics and healthy food choices on maintaining the right balance of beneficial gut bacteria, despite mounting studies linking gut health to improved immunity, mood, and weight control and disease prevention.[3]”

Probiotics are an easy addition to an already healthy diet, so consider adding them if you’ve got the other stuff covered.

Sugars and Sweeteners

The new recommendation on sugar states clearly that they should not account for more than 10% of your total calories per day.  The former recommendation gave a gradient of no more than 5-15% of total calories [1]. So pick your sweets carefully and enjoy them in moderation!

In addition, the new DGA addresses aspartame, stevia and other low calorie sweeteners for the first time, deeming them safe, similar to the European Food Safety Authority, with the exception of people with phenylketonuria (PKU) [1].  The guidelines state that these sweeteners may help reduce calories in the short term, but it is unknown how they may affect weight loss in the long term.

Luckily, H2PRO™ uses stevia as a sweetener. Stevia is a natural, zero calorie sweetener extracted from a plant.  So, no need to worry about safety or calories here. Our H2PRO™ Probiotic + Vitamin powders are sweet, refreshing and have no added sugar.

Fats

Kriss Sollid, R.D. states that “Fats are like fonts, it’s the type that matters most” [1]. And the new DGA echoes this statement clearly.

The limit for fats in the DGA is 20-35% of total calories and saturated fat only to 10% of total calories [1].  The reasoning for limiting fats is the prevention of heart disease and some cancers.  The most important thing to remember about fats is to replace saturated fatty foods such as mayonnaise with monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty foods such as avocado.

In order to eat more unsaturated fats, or good fats, choose fats that are liquid at room temperature like olive oil, safflower oil and canola oil instead of butter, palm, lard or hydrogenated shortenings [2].  In addition, limit red meats, choosing fatty fish like salmon and tuna instead. And finally, incorporate nuts, seeds and avocados into salads in lieu of creamy or mayonnaise based salad dressings [2].

Cholesterol

The 2015-2020 DGA no longs puts specific limits cholesterol intake.  Current dietary science has shown us that dietary cholesterol does not affect blood cholesterol as much as we once thought. There are multiple factors that do affect blood cholesterol levels including dietary fat, physical activity, weight, age and heredity [1]. Since the average American’s intake of cholesterol is now below the 300 mg/day recommendation in the 2010 DGA it is not as much of a concern [1].

The absence of a cholesterol limit in the DGA is not a blank check! Have an egg for breakfast, but pass on the buttered toast. Limit your red meats, cheeses and choose low fat milk. Moderation in fats, particularly saturated fats is still important.

Sodium

This version of the DGA is the same as past years, without guidance for subgroups of people based on age or race.  The recommendation is for all people to limit sodium to 2300 mg per day.  People with prehypertension or hypertension should limit sodium to 1500 mg per day or less since there may be a beneficial reduction in blood pressure with this change in diet [1].  Be wary of processed foods, especially things like canned soups or vegetables with lots of salt.  Read the labels of all processed foods to be sure you are making a good choice.

Coffee drinkers, you can relax now.

This is the first time that coffee and caffeine have been mentioned in the DGA and the news is good for all you coffee drinkers!  The DGA states that 3 to 5 8-oz cups of coffee a day can be incorporated into a healthy diet, however, people who do not consume caffeine are not encouraged to start [1]. Enjoy your Joe and relax about it!

 

Here’s to the next five years of your health. Eat healthy, #LoveYourGuts and hydrate with H2PRO™.

 

Citations

1- Sollid, Kris (2015) New Dietary Guidelines: What Changed & What Stayed the Same. FoodInsight.org

2- University of Illinois Extension (2014) What are Polyunsaturated and Monounsaturated Fats?

3- Warshaw, Hope.  (2016) What nutrition experts think is missing from the new Dietary Guidelines. The Washington Post, March 23, 2016.

 


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