U.S. government releases new dietary guidelines for Americans

File photo
File photo (FangXiaNuo)

Are you wondering what to eat and how much?

New dietary guidelines recently released by the United States government may help.

“They’re kind of a big deal in the sense that they help to set the structure for things like food stamps and school lunch programs and things like that,” said Kristin Kirkpatrick, a dietician with Cleveland Clinic. “They’re also meant to give some general guidance to Americans on what we should look at with our diet.”

The latest guidelines include some notable changes.

For example, added sugars should be limited to less than 10% of calories per day for ages two and older.

Saturated fat should also be limited to less than 10% per day, starting at age two.

As for sodium intake -- that should stay under 2,300 milligrams per day.

And finally, men should have no more than two alcoholic beverages per day, while women should only have one.

Kirkpatrick said while this is all good advice, she would have liked even stricter guidelines.

“The sodium is a great suggestion to keep it under 2300 milligrams per day but I would have loved for them go further and talk about where sodium really lies in the American diet and that’s in ultra-processed foods,” said Kirkpatrick. “We’ve seen multiple studies come out in the past year showing that consumption of ultra-processed foods leads to weight gain and a reduction in being able to lose weight, as well as an increase in chronic disease risk.”

Kirkpatrick recommends reading the nutritional labels when shopping, which now include added sugars.

She also suggests a whole foods diet consisting primarily of plants with some animal protein added in.