The new dietary guidelines have been released, my friend, and here’s the deal. There are 2 pieces of advice that the experts on the committee recommended…but were left out of the final document.

Those 2 pieces of advice?

  • To reduce the maximum intake of sugar to 6% of calories (instead of 10%)
  • To reduce the maximum intake of alcohol to 1 drink per day for both women and men (instead of 2 for men)

It would be interesting to know which lobby groups got their way in getting these two recommendations eliminated…

Another area where these guidelines fall short is in their recommendations for fats and oils. They still recommend vegetable oils (errr, since these are highly processed) over saturated fats (which can naturally occur in healthy foods like coconut oil and grass-fed beef).

But for those of us who have the ability to choose our foods and make independent decisions about our diet, it’s smart for us to keep in mind what the expert committee really wanted in the guidelines: eat less sugar and drink less alcohol.

There are other pieces of advice in the guidelines, like…

  • “Make every bite count”
  • Limit intake of sweetened beverages ( I say eliminate soda or greatly reduce intake)
  • Avoid added sugars entirely in children under the age of 2 (switch to natural sweeteners)
  • Include nutrient-dense foods that include vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and proteins

The USDA guidelines are useful to be aware of because they influence so many nutrition programs across our country. Ideally, however, I think we need to go beyond these guidelines to truly achieve an optimal diet and health.

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