Friday, February 20, 2015

What the government has told us to eat — since 1940

By Catey Hill

Published: Feb 20, 2015 2:25 p.m. ET / Brent HofackerNew dietary guidelines recommend Americans limit the amount of added sugar they eat to 12 teaspoons a day.Slide 1 of 6

Official recommendations on what you should be eating have changed again — and in some ways are a sharp departure from what we were told in past decades.

On Thursday, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released — the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture publishes these dietary guidelines every five years — and the authors had some new rules on what we should be eating. Here are a few of the highlights:

Vegetarian diets are healthy diets

The biggest takeaway from these guidelines is perhaps the group’s point that Americans should be eating foods in moderation with plenty of fruits, veggies and whole grains — not exactly groundbreaking news. It also pointed to the vegetarian diet as a healthy one — which naturally caused a wave of outrage among meat producers.

Eat far less “added sugar”

While the panel has long cautioned on sugar, this time around they were more specific with their recommendations, asking that Americans limit the amount of added sugar we eat to a max of 10% of our daily calories or about 12 teaspoons per day for adults

Don’t worry about cholesterol from foods like eggs

For many years now, foods like eggs have been shamed because of their link with cholesterol. But the new guidelines conclude that cholesterol from sources like shrimp and eggs needn’t be such a big concern, thanks to evidence showing that they don’t tend to raise cholesterol levels in most people.

Because some of these new dietary guidelines (which tend to inform other government eating initiatives, including the food pyramid and new food plate diagram) are such a departure from what Americans were told to eat in past decades, MarketWatch has pulled some USDA food guidelines from past years for comparison.

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