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Current Dietary Guidelines

  • High-resolution images and screenshots from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Free to download and use.

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High-resolution images and screenshots from the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Free to download and use.

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2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines At-A-Glance

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines focuses on the big picture with recommendations to help Americans make food and beverage choices that add up to an overall healthy eating pattern. To build a healthy eating pattern, combine healthy choices from across all food groups—while paying attention to calorie limits, too. Check out the 5 Guidelines that encourage healthy eating patterns.

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Science, Policy, Implementation: Developing the 2105-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

To develop the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, HHS and USDA collaborate during a 3-stage process.

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Cup- and Ounce Equivalents

Within a food group, foods can come in many forms (for example, fresh or dried) and are not created equal in terms of what counts as a cup or an ounce. Some foods are more concentrated, and some are more airy or contain more water. Cup- and ounce-equivalents identify the amounts of foods from each food group with similar nutritional content. In addition, portion sizes do not always match up with one cup-equivalent or one ounce-equivalent.

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Hidden Components in Healthy Eating Patterns

Many of the foods and beverages we eat contain sodium, saturated fats and added sugars. Making careful choices, as in this example, keeps amounts of these components within their limits while meeting nutrient needs to achieve a healthy eating pattern.

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Empower People to Make Healthy Shifts

Making changes to eating patterns can be overwhelming. That’s why it’s important to emphasize that every food and beverage choice is an opportunity to move closer to a healthy eating pattern. Small shifts in food and beverage choices—over the course of a week, a day, or even a meal—can make a big difference. Here are some ideas for realistic, small shifts that can help people adopt healthy eating patterns.

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Typical versus Nutrient-Dense Food and Beverages

Achieving a healthy eating pattern means shifting typical food choices to more nutrient-dense options—that is, foods with important nutrients that aren’t packed with extra calories or sodium. Nutrient-dense foods and beverages are naturally lean or low in solid fats and have little or no added solid fats, sugars, refined starches, or sodium.

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A Social-Ecological Model for Food and Activity Decisions

The Social-Ecological Model can help health professionals understand how layers of influence intersect to shape a person's food and physical activity choices. The model shows how various factors influence food and beverage intake, physical activity patterns, and ultimately health outcomes.

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Strategies to Align Settings with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Americans make food and beverage choices in a variety of settings at home, at work, and at play. Aligning these settings with the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines will not only influence individual choices—it can also have broader population level impact when multiple sectors commit to make changes together.

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