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New USDA Dietary Guidelines Now Revised: Top 10 Takeaways

By HERWriter
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New USDA Dietary Guidelines Now Revised: Their Top 10 Takeaways  Evgeny Karandaev/PhotoSpin

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture have posted their new dietary guidelines in the Scientific Report of 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee.

Here is a list of 10 suggestions, findings and recommendations:

1) Cholesterol

Cholesterol was removed from the list of nutrients of concern for over-consumption. The DGAC dismissed its previous recommendation of no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day.

2) Over-consumption

The DGAC reported only sodium and saturated fat as nutrients of concern for over-consumption, stating that the U.S. population exceeds the recommendations for both.

3) Under-consumption

Vitamin D, calcium, potassium and fiber are under-consumed and may pose a public health concern.

4) Caffeine

The general public is given the go-ahead to continue drinking caffeine but children, adolescents and pregnant women are discouraged from high doses.

5) Food Group

The USDA food patterns have changed over time. They are currently made up of five major food groups:
(1) fruits
(2) vegetables
(3) grains
(4) protein foods and
(5) dairy

Also included are their sub-groups: dark green vegetables, orange and red vegetables, starchy vegetables, other vegetables, beans and peas, whole grains, enriched/refined grains, meat/poultry/eggs, nuts, seeds, soy products and seafood.

6) Food Patterns

A new Healthy Vegetarian Pattern and a Healthy Mediterranean-style Pattern were developed. The patterns are full of nutrient-dense foods and fall below the limits for sodium and saturated fat.

7) Fruits vs. Vegetables

The majority of children aged 8 years old and younger eat enough fruit to meet the DGAC’s recommendation while everyone over the age of 8 struggles to get enough.

Very few children ever meet the daily recommendation for vegetables. And, although there is a slight increase in consumption among adults, the U.S. population never quite gets enough veggies.

8) Whole Grains

Keep buying those whole grains. Although it has been reported that half of all daily grain consumption should be of the whole-grain variety, nearly 100 percent of the population is below that recommendation in consumption.

9) Dairy

Dairy consumption decreases with age. More than 60 percent of children aged 1-3 years of age get enough dairy, but less than 5 percent of adult women meet the recommended amount of three cups per day.

10) Seafood

In 2010, the DGAC recommended upping weekly seafood intake to 8 ounces. This year, that recommendation was upheld for adults.

Despite the decreased concern for cholesterol consumption The American Heart Association’s website “still recommends all adults age 20 or older have their cholesterol, and other traditional risk factors, checked every four to six years.”

In a recent blog post, Dr. Neal Barnard attempted to clear up the confusion about cholesterol by explaining its relationship with saturated fat.

“The two travel together. Fat and cholesterol are the Bonnie and Clyde of the culinary world. An egg, for example, has a whopping 200 milligrams of cholesterol and gets nearly 20 percent of its calories from saturated fat. They conspire together to raise your cholesterol level,” wrote Barnard.

Barnard recommends a plant-based diet low in “bad fat” and cholesterol, despite the new USDA report.

New guidelines come out every five years and are meant to keep the government informed on the health needs of the county.


2015 Scientific Report. Health.gov. Accessed February 20, 2015.

What your Cholesterol Levels Mean. Heart.org. Accessed February 24, 2015

Cholesterol Confusion: Let’s Make Sense of It. Pcrm.org. Accessed February 24, 2015

Reviewed March 2, 2015
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

Add a Comment1 Comments

"The DGAC reported only sodium and saturated fat as nutrients of concern for over-consumption, stating that the U.S. population exceeds the recommendations for both."

I would think added sugars and refined grains would be included in the list of nutrients of concern because the Harvard School of Public Health says, "Swapping saturated fat and carbohydrates for linoleic acid ... lowers risk of coronary heart disease" http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2014/11/05/dietary-linoleic-acid-and-risk-of-coronary-heart-disease/

And we're supposed to believe this because "... polyunsaturated fat found in vegetable oil, nuts, and seeds – lowers risk of coronary heart disease, according to a new study by Harvard School of Public Health researchers.

This is a most unfortunate recommendation. How so? I've been following the anti-saturated fat campaign for more than 35 years and have been collecting linoleic acid research for about five years. As far as I can tell, saturated fats are benign, if not outright healthy, over a wide range of intakes as long as they are consumed in the context of adequate supportive nutrition. http://www.sciscoop.com/controversial-saturated-fat.html

In contrast, linoleic acid becomes toxic at intakes exceeding 1 to 2 percent of total calories. http://buff.ly/1Cx4x2q

Currently, there's a big dispute over what constitutes a safe level of saturated fat intake. http://ecowatch.com/2015/03/03/grass-fed-butter-healthiest-fats/

In the end, demonizing saturated fat while ignoring the effects of excessive linoleic acid intake is like making a big fuss over a cut on a finger while ignoring a severed femoral artery.

March 12, 2015 - 4:09am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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