Greens and grains

Less added sugar, more veggies: Updated dietary guidelines released

The latest Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise limiting sugar and sodium and eating plenty of vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains.


Varied vegetables, whole grains, fruits, low-fat dairy products and lean protein sources are among the foods recommended by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The guidelines, released by the federal government earlier this month, advise Americans to eat a variety of nutritious foods, decrease sodium intake and calories from added sugar and saturated fat, and strive for healthy eating patterns over time. The guidelines also note that:

  • Added sugars should comprise no more than 10% of your daily calories.
  • Americans should eat no more than 300 milligrams of cholesterol and no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day.
  • Men and adolescent boys are getting too much protein from eggs, meat and poultry. The guidelines recommend this group decrease protein consumption and eat more vegetables instead.
  • Antoinette M. Cheney, DO, says the guidelines can serve as a starting point for talking with patients about small steps they can take to improve their health. “Just cutting out added sugars in the form of beverages such as sports drinks, sodas and juices could make a significant impact,” says Dr. Cheney, an osteopathic family physician in Lone Tree, Colorado.

    Physicians could also share the statistic that 9 out of 10 Americans don’t eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables in a day, Dr. Cheney notes. “January is a good time of year to be discussing these things with patients since many of us have made resolutions,” she says. “It’s a good opportunity to bring awareness to patients that they haven’t had before and hopefully inspire them to start making small changes.”

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