2015 Dietary Guidelines – The Wait is Over
Tara Snow, RD, LD, GAND State Media Representative
With much anticipation, the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released on January 7th, 2016.
The Dietary Guidelines are jointly published every five years by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), which represent the U.S. government’s foundation for nutrition policy and education for the next five years.
The Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics supported the committee’s evidence-based systematic review of the scientific literature, and as registered dietitian nutritionists we should fully review and be familiar with the Dietary Guidelines in order to remain current with evidence-based food and beverage recommendations in our efforts to promote health, prevent chronic disease, and assist people in achieving and/or maintaining a healthy weight.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans is similar to the 2010 Dietary Guidelines in many ways; however, there are now five overarching guidelines within the Introduction to set the tone and guide the population towards healthy eating patterns:
- Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
- Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount.
- Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.
- Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
- Support healthy eating patterns for all.
The overarching Guidelines are encompassed within three chapters, and are supported by Key Recommendations which specify foods that are inclusive of a healthy eating pattern and identifies specific nutritional targets and dietary limits (Chapter 1). 1
How Do You Interpret the Guidelines and Key Recommendations? A report published in the EatRightPRO News Center provides a clear outline of the key recommendations for the 2015 Dietary Guidelines and how they have changed from 2010. 2 This report is a quick overview of nutrients including: cholesterol, sodium, added sugars, protein, fats, trans fatty acids, refined grains, dietary fibers, caffeine, and alcohol. 2
Another important component of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines is the comparison of how Americans are eating now against the recommendations. The data is divided among age groups and gender, and provides clear guidance on shifts in food choices. (Chapter 2). 3
Call to Action: Everyone Has a Role in Supporting Healthy Eating Patterns
The bottom line is that Americans are consuming too many calories, are not meeting food group and nutrient recommendations. We all have a role in helping individuals shift their personal food, beverage, and activity choices to align with the Dietary Guidelines. As previously stated by the Academy President, Dr. Evelyn F. Crayton, RDN, LDN, FAND, “The Dietary Guidelines offer each of us an unequalled opportunity to further position ourselves as leaders – translating nutrition science and government recommendations into practical information for consumers and communities alike.” (Release of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: A message from the Academy’s President. January 7, 2016)
The Academy has also developed a wealth of online resources to provide assistance in working with clients, patients, colleagues and the public. 4 Resources include:
- Press releases regarding the Academy’s reaction to the release of the Dietary Guidelines and a consumer-oriented press release on how individuals and families can apply the Dietary Guidelines to their own individual eating plans
- Video and infographic
- Highlights of news media coverage featuring the Academy’s Spokespeople discussing the Dietary Guidelines and their implications for people’s nutrition and health.
Please take this opportunity to become educated on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans so that you may leverage your expertise in making a significant difference in the health and quality of life for all Americans.
- Tara Snow, RDN, LD is the State Media Spokesperson for the Georgia Academy of Nutrition & Dietetics, and is the Corporate Health & Wellness Manager for Morrison Healthcare.