Dietary Guidelines

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The Dietary Guidelines for Americans are jointly issued and updated every 5 years by the Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). They provide authoritative advice for Americans ages 2 and older about consuming fewer calories, making informed food choices, and being physically active to attain and maintain a healthy weight, reduce risk of chronic disease, and promote overall health.

What is a “Healthy Diet”?

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans describe a healthy diet as one that:

• Emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products;
• Includes lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts; and
• Is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

The recommendations in the Dietary Guidelines and in MyPlate are for the general public over 2 years of age. My-Plate is not a therapeutic diet for any specific health condition. Individuals with a chronic health condition should consult with a health care provider to determine what dietary pattern is appropriate for them.

MyPlate helps individuals use the Dietary Guidelines to:

• Make smart choices from every food group.
• Find balance between food and physical activity.
• Get the most nutrition out of calories.
• Stay within daily calorie needs.

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