New Dietary Guidelines Released by USDA

By , Melissa Rudy, Health & Fitness Journalist
This week, the USDA and HSS released their 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In addition to serving as a handy tool for planning your own personal meals, these guidelines, which are only released once every five years, also influence the nutritional content of school lunches and federal food programs across the country.

Much of the report reinforces the same best practices we've been hearing for decades, like eating plenty of fruits and veggies, whole grains and lean protein. But there are also some new recommendations that may surprise you.

Cracking Down on Sugar

For the first time ever, the USDA has issued a specific limit on sugar intake. According to the report, added sugars should make up no more than 10 percent of our daily calorie intake (preferably less). If you're eating 2,000 calories a day, that's a mere 200 calories, or a little over 12 teaspoons—roughly equivalent to a can of regular soda. This number refers specifically to added sugars, not the natural sugars that are found in fruits, veggies and some dairy products.

Are you consuming too much added sugar? See our tips on breaking your sugar addiction.

Giving Cholesterol a Pass

After spending decades as a nutritional villain, cholesterol gets a bit of a reprieve in the new report. Although the UDSA still recommends keeping dietary cholesterol to a minimum, they've lifted the specific cap of 300 milligrams per day. This goes along with recent research showing that dietary cholesterol has less of an impact on blood cholesterol (aka: the dangerous type) as previously thought. So go ahead and enjoy the occasional egg—the benefits of the protein, antioxidants and vitamin/mineral content will likely outweigh any cholesterol-associated risk.

Keep in mind that diet is only responsible for about 20 percent of your cholesterol levels. Find out what other factors influence your cholesterol.

Bye Bye, Bad Fats

Saturated fats are known to increase the risk of heart disease, so it's no surprise that the USDA frowns upon them. This latest report recommends that saturated fats—found primarily in animal fat products like butter, cheese, whole mik, bacon and fatty meats—make up no more than 10 percent of daily caloric intake.

Need help finding healthier fat sources? See our fats reference guide for specific food guidelines.

Too Much Protein for Males?

Another surprising takeaway from the USDA's new report is that teen boys and men are eating too much meat, poultry and eggs. Specifically, the report states that "average intakes of meats, poultry and eggs, a subgroup of the protein foods group, are above recommendations in the Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern for teen boys and adult men." However, the actual protein intake recommendations for men and women are still the same as they were five years ago.

Looking for alternate protein sources? Find out how to meet your protein needs without meat.

What do you think of the new dietary guidelines? How does your nutrition plan measure up?

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FIT2BETHIN 1/9/2020
Good article, but now these recommendations are 5 years old. Have they changed since 2015? Report
:) Report
MSROZZIE 9/3/2019
Good need-to-know information. Report
EVILCECIL 8/26/2019
To much protein huh? I'll have to work on that. Report
I love this article. Thank you for making it easy to read and explain everything. It's mainly is saying that you will do good when you have balanced meals for long time. Will this coming out today change the requirements for the day when I log my food? Report
RO2BENT 8/21/2019
Balanced meals Report
Thanks for sharing. Report
FIT2FINISH 7/23/2019
Including more strength building exercise - increases the metabolism! Yes, good to be reminded. I am great with walking, but can’t seem to find a strength building routine that sticks! Great info Report
KATHYJO56 6/20/2019
much better than before Report
GEORGE815 3/22/2019
Nice comments on this subject Report
ERIN_POSCH 2/26/2019
for GODMYPORTIONNOW the sugar tracker is under other nutrients. it tracks by grams. hope that helps you. Report
I wish they had these suggestions years ago. Report
DEE107 2/14/2019
thanks Report
NANCYPAT1 2/10/2019
Great Report
NANCYPAT1 2/10/2019
Great Report
NANCYPAT1 2/10/2019
Great Report
Great info! Thanks! Report
Hopefully Trump doesn't get his hands on this Report
Well...still the same old crap pushed out by the government to cover up the fact that they only have corralatory "research" to support not eating saturated fats which basically means nothing Report
Well...still the same old crap pushed out by the government to cover up the fact that they only have corralatory "research" to support not eating saturated fats which basically means nothing Report
Well, if 2 years old is "new" lol!
The basics stay the same so that's the tried and true method I'll stick with. Where I can have an apple and some oatmeal instead of doing the fad low carb diets. Report
interesting Report
Good thoughts...not sure how accurate. Report
I think too much food is being shot up by steroids to make the animal grow faster. Look at the development of the young girls & high school boys they have beards & mustaches at 16 Report
I am not surprise that males eat too much protein. Report
News flash ... it's NOT saturated fats to blame, it's the TRANS FATS. Thank the powers that be the US government is making the food makers eliminate Trans Fats from their products. Report
Not sure why an outdated article is being todays top article. It was new over 2 years ago. Report
It’s NOW 2018, and this info is almost 3 years old, and far from “new.” The information still is not scientifically accurate, and medical professionals and scientists - AND more of we, the public- now are calling FOUL on U.S. dietary “guidelines” that have far more to do with corporate food and producers’ profits than what internationally recognised metabolic science actually says. We are now fighting for FACTS in the 2020 U.S. food guidelines! I think 2018-2019 is the deadline for finalising the 2020 guidelines! Check the websites of and for more information. Report
Sugar's the really bad one for me. I try to avoid added sugar at all costs. Report
Everything in moderation. A person can eat just about anything they want. They just cannot eat the HUGE portion size they want! I am on a sugarfree challenge right now. I love sugar, especially chocolate. I have been without for nearly 2 weeks now. I don't care for anything super sweet now. I pray that God will direct my path to continue No Added Sugars. Report
I raise an eyebrow at any recommendations from the government. A great book to read: Death by Food Pyramid by Denise Minger, where she describes the history of federal nutritional recommendations. As you can imagine, there was a lot of lobbying and industrial incentives going on. Report
CAT by CJ is right on the mark here! What a bunch of baloney in these guidelines. Report
My own experience with the federal health sector leads me to regard any consensus statements as having a significant political content. Report
you can thank the atkins diet for the guys eating too much protein. the best rule of thumb is everything in moderation. Report
I think they are a little slow on the uptake when it comes to sugar--and even slower other areas. I guess they are trying to wean people little by little. No matter--people need to do their own research and find what works for them. Report
I remember learning about the 4 food groups in 5th and 6th grades. Everything was simple, even if it was wrong! I miss that. Pyramids, plates, drawing up new's exhausting! But I guess the gov is interested in keeping us all healthy, so I better listen! Report
Very informative, thank you. Report
Sounds like the dairy industry made someone mad and the meat producers are back in good standing . . . . wonder what it'll be next. Sorry, I don't trust the 'talking heads' . . . it's been proved that they can be bought, and they're more concerned with their political activist groups (dairy or meat industry) than they are my health. Report
"saturated fats are known to increase the risk of heart disease". Actually from what I've read recently, this has never been proven at all. In fact, heart disease has INCREASED even though fat has been decreased in foods. Trans fats and hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats HAVE been proven to increase the risk of heart disease, but not saturated fats. I'm sure it's still better to eat more unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and limit saturated ones, but we shouldn't blame saturated fats if there isn't proof. Report
Unless the FDA also starts requiring that added sugars (in all their forms) be listed separately on the nutrition label, this is really going to be meaningless. But it's a good thought. Report
The recommendations also left out all of the most recent research, linking the strong correlation between eating meat and cancer. Both the egg and meat lobbies are suspected to have heavily influenced the FDA to downplay risks associated with their products. Also, originally the recommendations were going to include the importance of eating sustainably, but that was scrapped too (because there is nothing environmentally sustainable about beef). These new guidelines are being taken to court. Eat following these guidelines at your own risk. The FDA has been sold to the highest bidders. Report
Well, those may be the guidelines, but when I ate all kinds of high cholesterol stuff, but cut out all whites and their brown counterparts (bread, pasta, rice, sweets, potato) I dropped my cholesterol 100 points.... These guidelines are finally starting to admit what several researchers have been proving for years. Report
Please tell me this means sparky will add a plain "sugar" nutrient to track.... I have looked before and its not there fructose and something else is but that is not how any of the labeled foods are written so why is there no button for "sugar" just like there is for fiber listed right next to the sugar. ---Please this will help me so much. Report