What are the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Dietary Guidelines for Americans?

Updated: May 25, 2018
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First released in 1980, the DHHS Dietary Guidelines for Americans are revised every 5 years. The 2015-2020 version includes the following overall guidelines [6] :

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
  • To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake.
  • Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Consider cultural and personal preferences to make these shifts easier to accomplish and maintain.

The guidelines note that a healthy eating pattern includes the following:

  • A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups: Dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, at least half of which are whole grains
  • Fat-free or low-fat dairy, including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages
  • A variety of protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts,seeds, and soy products
  • Oils

A healthy eating pattern limits the following:

  • Saturated fats
  • trans fats
  • Added sugars
  • Sodium

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