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A Guideline for a Healthy Diet

Written by Abbey Carlson

The foods and beverages you consume have a significant impact on your health. Diet-related chronic diseases—such as cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer—are prevalent among Americans and pose a major public health problem. In fact, 60% of adults have one or more diet-related chronic diseases.

Every five years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture publish nutrition advice. The newest version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025) offers science-based nutrition advice to develop healthy eating habits and reduce chronic disease risk. For the first time, this edition provides recommendations by life stage, from birth through older adulthood.

2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines

The latest guidance provides four overarching guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns while recognizing that individuals will need to make shifts in their food and beverage choices to achieve a healthy pattern.

Make every bite count and consider the following four overarching guidelines:

  1. Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage. Dietary needs and recommendations vary based on your age, sex, and stage of life. Review the guidelines to ensure that you and your loved ones—whether they're infants, teens, adults, or older adults—are following a healthy diet.
  2. Customize your foods and beverages to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgets. A healthy dietary pattern can benefit all people regardless of age, race, ethnicity, or current health status.
  3. Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages while staying within calorie limits. Keep in mind that 85% of your daily calories should meet food group recommendations for vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and protein. Nutrient-dense foods are rich in vitamins and minerals, without too much added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
  4. Limit foods and beverages high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Be mindful of the nutritional facts of the foods and beverages you consume—including alcohol. For example, men should limit alcohol to two drinks a day and women should consume no more than one drink per day.

Everyone can benefit from a healthy eating pattern, so start simple with modest changes each day. For healthy recipes or to learn more about the current guidelines, contact your HealthCheck360 health coach or visit MyPlate.gov.

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Topics: Diabetes, Nutrition

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