Government creates new dietary guidelines for 2015

These guidelines will also form the basis for the government's "my plate" icon

AGAWAM, Mass. (WWLP) – The government is creating new dietary guidelines for healthy eating. These dietary guidelines are being created by a government advisory committee made up of medical and nutrition experts, and those guidelines will affect nutrition patterns throughout the country, from school lunches to labels on food packages.

Preliminary recommendations are set to be given this month, and the final guidelines will be given at the end of the year. But one shopper told 22News changing guidelines over the years have been hard to follow.

“One week you can eat butter, the next week you can’t,” says Joan Caney of Agawam. “So I feel this way. If you feel good… and I feel good most days, I have my bad days. Other than that I eat what I want.”

These guidelines will also form the basis for the government’s “my plate” icon, which replaced the food pyramid a few years ago.

There will be several components that these guidelines address. The 2015 guidelines will suggest specific limits on added sugars for the first time, advising that only 10% of calorie intake come from added sugars. That’s about 50 grams 50 grams of sugar, or 12 teaspoons a day for a person eating a normal diet, according to the Nutrition Advocacy Group Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Regarding salt, the 2010 dietary guidelines recommend reducing sodium intake to less than 2,300 milligrams a day, reducing that to 1,5000 milligrams for people who are 51 and older, African-American or those who have hypertension, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease. The dietary guidelines advisory panel for 2015 noted that years of public pressure to lower sodium levels has not had much effect. The average American consumes more than 3,400 mg of sodium a day, or 1 1/2 teaspoons.

Current guidelines advise that people eat a variety of proteins. The draft recommendation for 2015 says a healthier dietary pattern includes fewer red and processed meats.

The advisory committee addresses that pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to less than 200 milligrams a day, or around 2 cups of coffee, compared to the 2010 guidelines that strongly suggests against pregnant women from having any caffeine at all.

Over the past year, the committee discussed the idea of having sustainability also become a dietary goal, ensuring food access for future generations. According to the draft recommendation, a diet higher plant-based foods and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with a lesser environmental impact.

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