2016 Federal Nutrition Guidelines

Washington Post: 

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack emphasized that the new guidelines show there are a variety of ways to have a nutritious diet.

“We are suggesting to American families they don’t need to make huge fundamental changes, that in fact small changes can add up to big differences," he said.

Here's what you need to know about the new guidelines:

Give me the highlights.

  • Salt: Less than 2,300 milligrams/day for everyone. That's one teaspoon. (Previously, if you were African-American, older than 50 or had certain chronic conditions, the recommended limit would have been 1,500 mg/day.)
  • Coffee: Up to 5 cups a day.
  • Dairy: Stick to low-fat or skim milk.
  • Sugar: Keep added sugars to less than 10 percent of daily calories.
  • Cholesterol: No limit anymore, but the report still cautions not to have too much.
  • Alcohol: Up to one glass a day for women, two for men.
  • Meat: Get a variety of it, but go for lean and watch out for saturated fat (see next line).
  • Saturated fat: Keep to less than 10 percent of daily calories.

Hold on -- so it's okay to eat red meat? I thought the World Health Organization just said that processed meat causes cancer and that red meat probably does, too.

Yes, as long as you don't overdo it and otherwise have a healthy diet. While the document explaining the new guidelines does not explicitly tell Americans to cut back on processed or red meat, it does contain a chart with examples of foods high in saturated fat that should be limited, which includes a lot of meat products like hamburgers.

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