What You Need To Know About The Government’s New Dietary Rules

As of today, as far as the government is concerned, it is no longer possible to eat “too much” total fat.

You don’t have to worry about the cholesterol count in your food as much, and for the first time, there is a hard limit on added sugar, which should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily calories.

These are just some of the biggest changes to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the new federal dietary guidelines that launched today. While there are a few reasons to be excited about the document’s potential to improve Americans’ diets, on the whole it’s the same as it has always been: too focused on nutrients, reluctant to take a stance on meat and environmental sustainability, and too obtuse for practical use.

Released every five years and jointly crafted by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, the DGAs set the agenda for major food policy, including government assistance programs like school lunches and food benefits for mothers and children. The guidelines also set the standards for food and nutrition education and, ideally, help individuals decide how to eat for better health.

Some of the newest guidelines won’t be a surprise to those who have been paying attention: A committee of independent scientists and researchers released a report in Feb. 2015 that summarized the latest nutrition research for the government’s consideration. Others of the committee’s suggestions, however, were not adopted.

But Miriam Nelson, a member of that committee and a nutrition professor at Tufts University, points out that America is at an “inflection point” when it comes to caring about food, food policy and health. The nearly 30,000 public comments on the advisory report that Nelson and others wrote, as well as unprecedented media coverage of —> Read More