Every five years the United States Department of Agriculture and Health and Human Services meets to review and discuss current science on diet and health to update the dietary guidelines for Americas. The 2020-2025 guidelines promote a shift in food and beverage choices among Americans to support healthy dietary patterns. This means getting our nutritional needs met through food by choosing a variety of nutrient dense foods from each food group. As a nutrient dense protein source, the guidelines suggest that most Americans should increase their seafood consumption and eat seafood at lease twice a week (8-10 oz), especially those low in mercury, which are readily available in the US market. The omega-3 fatty acids and micro nutrients found in seafood provide significant health benefits. To maximize the health benefits of seafood, healthy preparation methods, like baking, broiling, and grilling, are recommended.
The Key Recomendations in the 2020-2025 dietary guidelines describe the steps that can be taken to adopt healthy dietary patterns.
The Dietary Guidelines’ Key Recommendations for healthy dietary patterns should be applied in their entirety, given the interconnected relationship that each dietary component can have with others.
Adopt a healthy dietary pattern that includes nutrient dense foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level based on age, sex, and physical activity level.
A healthy dietary pattern includes:
- A variety of vegetables from all 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
A healthy dietary pattern limits:
- Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium
These components are of particular public health concern in the United States, and the guidelines outline specific limits for each, which can help individuals achieve healthy dietary patterns within calorie limits. The limits outlined below are the maximum amounts for most Americans but will vary with age, sex, and physical activity level, refer to the dietary guidelines for more details:
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars
- Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats
- Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of sodium
- If alcohol is consumed, it should be consumed in moderation—up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men—and only by adults of legal drinking age.
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. Americans should aim to achieve and maintain a healthy body weight. The relationship between diet and physical activity contributes to calorie balance and managing body weight.