• Category: Blog
  • Published Dated: January 7, 2016
  • Writen by:






Today is a big day in the nutrition world. Yes, finally the new USDA Dietary Guidelines have been released. Why the delay? It’s what Marion Nestle, nutrition and food studies professor and author out of New York University, calls “food politics.” One of her books, by the selfsame name, was released ten years ago and was part of my study materials in college.

Nestle and many others have had much to say as we have waited and waited, and waited, for release of the guidelines. They were scheduled to be released in 2015, but due to a choice to not involve sustainability issues in the guidelines and Congress popping in and out of the picture, threatening the outcome and some of the context for which scientific committees were channeling their energies, the guidelines were pushed to the now.

Here they are: (http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/). Can’t you just smell the taxpayer dollars at work, representing thousands of hours of experts reviewing, discussing, investigating, and translating the science into a language that is simple and practical?

Previous editions of the Dietary Guidelines provided suggestions for food groups and nutrients, while they were criticized for lack of practicality, because people eat foods in combination, rather than in isolation. Today’s guidelines emphasize patterns, which we are learning truly do make the difference, rather than snapshots and pointing to food groups.



Here is my simple overview:

  •   –  Limit or completely nix caffeine, alcohol, processed meats, and sugar-sweetened foods and drinks (good, better, and best indeed). Start where you are and move forward, ongoing.
  •   –  Focus on patterns. This is key! Moderation isn’t a Big Mac on Monday, a banana split on Tuesday, and various other novelty indulgences on other days of the week. Moderation is truly avoiding extremes and making the act of indulgence less the norm. The new guidelines emphasize making patterns in healthy eating real across your lifespan.
  •   –  Focus on a variety of nutrient-dense foods. Exotic fruits and plants don’t need to be your primo choices. Mix up your options and maximize your nutrition.
  •   –  Be certain to limit processed, packaged foods with added sugars, saturated fats, and high sodium.
  •   –  Aim for better choices today, here and now, not just making choices based on calories, but rather based on real, whole, and less processed options.
  •   –  Set an example and look at your environment, asking how you can better support healthy eating patterns for others in your circle of influence.
  •   –  Consider your food preferences, traditions, culture, and budget. How do vegetables, fruits, grains, low-fat dairy, lean meats and other protein foods, and oils fit into that picture?
  •   –  Finally, watch your portion sizes, read labels, pay special attention to ingredients, and make better overall choices today, tomorrow, and ongoing.


– How will you use these guidelines to make better choices?


– How can you best bridge the gap between knowing and doing?


– What is your take-away?


All the best!


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