2015 Dietary Guidelines USDA

The results are in! Finally.

The new (2015) dietary guidelines from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) were finally published in January 2016. Here’s the link:


A large part of the delay came from intense lobbying to prevent language that would discourage people from eating too much beef. Despite extensive peer reviewed evidence linking health problems with consumption of beef, especially in men, the lobbyists prevailed. This means that they also prevailed in regards to all processed meats, which is a problem for all of us.

So, although the guidelines may not say it, the message from the scientists is to eat beef only in moderation or not at all – and to avoid processed meat products. It is worth noting that the science makes no distinction between beef raised using industrial techniques and beef raised using traditional techniques such as grazing and eating only hay till the day they are slaughtered. There are claims that “grass fed” beef is healthier, but the scientists aren’t studying this.

One recommendation did make it into the final version was that all Americans eat less sugar. The final recommendation is that only 10% of the calories we eat come from sugar, with further recommendation to limit the intake of simple carbohydrates. Simple carbohydrates are things like processed flour, white rice, popcorn, white potatoes and other foods which are almost immediately turned to sugar when we eat them.

Here is something to consider. 200 years ago eating a diet where 10% of your calories came from sugar would have taken serious work, one might even say impossible. Much has changed clearly and we need to be aware of this. Human beings are really not designed to do well eating even this much sugar.

The nutritional scientists wanted a lower recommendation. The 10% number is a compromise. I recommend you limit sugar to only 5% of your calorie intake. Remember that alcohol counts as sugar in your diet.

Even with the compromises, the 2015 dietary guidelines are an improvement over those made in 2010. These guidelines are updated every five years and they continue to get better. The truth is that most Americans, if they ate a diet that followed the 2015 diets, would be healthier. The guidelines are good reading and can be found at the link included above if you are interested. Just try it.

To your health.

Photo courtesy © Can Stock Photo Inc. / piedmont_photo

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