Latest dietary guidelines: Healthy eating patterns vital to good health

newspaperAt the beginning of the year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services released its most recent dietary guidelines. Issued every five years, the report underscores the relationship between agriculture and healthy foods.

“America’s farmers and ranchers are proud to produce an abundant, nutritious and affordable food supply for our fellow citizens and the world. We believe the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans provide a useful framework for Americans to make healthy choices for themselves and their families,” said Bob Stallman, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation.

As before, the guidelines call for eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, lean meats, nuts, legumes and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. The biggest shift from previous federal guidelines, which focused on individual nutrients, are new recommendations that emphasize the importance of healthy eating patterns.

According to the AFBF, takeaways from the guidelines include the following:
• Follow a healthy eating pattern across your lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, support nutrient adequacy and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

• Focus on variety, nutrient density and amount. 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. Strive for an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats and sodium.

• Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns at home, school and work and in communities.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are available at


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