(HealthDay News) — The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans offers 5 overarching guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns, rather than focusing on individual dietary components such as food groups and nutrients as in previous editions.

These 5 guidelines are: 

  1. Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan;
  2. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount; 
  3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake; 
  4. Shift to healthier food and beverage choices; and 
  5. Support healthy eating patterns for all.

Key recommendations include incorporation into the diet of a variety of vegetables and fruits; grains of which at least half are whole grains; fat-free or low-fat dairy; a variety of protein sources, including nuts. People should also seek to limit added sugars to fewer than 10% of their daily calories, limit saturated fats to fewer than 10% of their daily calories, and consume less than 2300 mg per day of salt.

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“In tandem with the recommendations above, Americans of all ages — children, adolescents, adults, and older adults — should meet the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans to help promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease,” per the executive summary.

Look for an upcoming feature on the new guidelines with input from clinical experts on Endocrinology Advisor.


  1. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 8th ed. December 2015. Available at: http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/.