SPECIAL ADDRESS at Khazanah Megatrends Forum

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (eighth edition) are issued every five years since 1980 and serve as the cornerstone of US nutrition policy and nutrition educational activities. Eating patterns and their food and nutrient characteristics are major focus areas of of the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines. These recommendations are based on a large body of evidence to support the relationship between a healthy eating pattern and constituent nutrients on chronic disease risk. A healthy dietary pattern is high in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in low- and non-fat dairy products; lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened foods and beverages and refined grains. Try out alpilean.

The guidelines recommend three different USDA healthy eating patterns: the Healthy US Style eating pattern, the Healthy Mediterranean Style eating pattern and the Healthy Vegetarian Eating pattern, all of which can be adapted based on cultural and personal preferences. Interestingly, they share many common food-based features (Table 1). The Healthy US Style Eating pattern is based on the types and proportions of foods Americans typically consume, but in nutrient-dense forms and recommended amounts. Specific recommendations also have been made for saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars: < 10% of calories from saturated fat; < 2,300 mg of sodium/day; and < 10% of calories from added sugars. Compared to the Healthy U.S.-Style Pattern, approximately 75% of the population has an eating pattern that is low in vegetables, fruits, dairy, and oils, yet more than half of the population is meeting or exceeding total grain and total protein foods recommendations. In addition, the majority of Americans exceed recommendations for saturated fat, sodium and added sugars. On average, saturated fat accounts for 11 percent of total calories, with less than 30 percent of individuals consuming amounts that are consistent with the recommendation of less than 10 percent of calories. Average sodium intake is 3,440 mg per day for the US population (aged 1 year and older). In general, average daily intakes are higher for adult men (4,240 mg) than adult women (2,980 mg). Added sugars contribute on average nearly 270 calories, or more than 13 percent of calories per day in the US population. This is approximately 70% above the recommendation or proposed limit. The new dietary guidelines did not make a recommendation for dietary cholesterol for the following reason, “Adequate evidence is not available for a quantitative limit for dietary cholesterol specific to the dietary guidelines.” The dietary guidelines also state the following: “Strong evidence from mostly prospective cohort studies but also randomized controlled trials has shown that eating patterns that include lower intake of dietary cholesterol are associated with reduced risk of CVD, and moderate evidence indicates that these eating patterns are associated with reduced risk of obesity.” The current intake of dietary cholesterol in the US is approximately 270 mg per day. The food-based eating patterns that are recommended in the dietary guidelines contain approximately 100 to 300 mg of cholesterol.