Dec. 29 (UPI) — New dietary guidelines released Tuesday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services urge increased consumption of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean meat.
They also advise people in the United States to reduce salt and saturated fat levels in their diets, officials said.
However, the Trump administration opted not to adopt new recommendations on alcohol consumption, initially drafted in June, after lobbying from the industry, according to reports.
At least initially, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a panel of nutrition experts that advises the USDA and HHS, suggested that the government revise its definition of “moderate drinking” for men down from two drinks per day to one.
The definition of moderate drinking for women would remain the same, at one drink per day.
The new guidelines also maintained the status quo with regard to sugar consumption, advising people to not consume more than 10 percent of their calories from added sugars.
“The science tells us that good nutrition leads to better health outcomes, and the new dietary guidelines use the best available evidence to give Americans the information they need to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families,” HHS Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement.
“USDA and HHS have expanded this edition of the dietary guidelines to provide new guidance for infants, toddlers and pregnant and breastfeeding women, helping all Americans to improve their health, no matter their age or life stage,” he said.
Indeed, the biggest changes concerned recommended diets for infants, which suggested that newborns be fed human milk exclusively until they reach 6 months old when possible, with infant formula as an alternative.
Once they begin intake of solid foods at 6 months, their diet should be rich in nutrients such as iron and zinc, while avoiding foods with added sugars and limiting those that are higher in sodium, the guidelines said.
The guidelines are updated every five years and govern what’s served in federal nutrition programs.
The theme for the 2020-2025 edition is “Make Every Bite Count,” and it’s designed to emphasize the importance of nutrient-rich foods and beverages, particularly important for infants and toddlers, officials said.
“We are pleased that for the first time, the guidelines provide recommendations for pregnant and breastfeeding women, as well as infants and toddlers,” American Heart Association president Dr. Mitchell S. V. Elkind said in a statement.
“But we are disappointed that USDA and HHS did not accept all of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s science-based … recommendation to lower added sugars consumption to less than 6% of calories,” Elkind said.