Feb 21 2021

Focus on Healthy Gut – New US Dietary Guidelines

Published by at 1:29 pm under Dietary Guidelines

New US Dietary Guidelines in line with maintaining a healthy gut

There is consensus on a diet that promotes long-term health and fights disease, as supported by the new 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans for 2020-2025 was released on December 29th, 2020. Updated every five years, these guidelines set the stage for federal nutrition guidelines in our country. They influence federal food programs, health policies, and the nutrition status and health of all Americans. The guidelines are based on federal data, dietary intakes, and chronic disease rates as well as current evidence. The US government will be implementing these new guidelines for nutrition education, food assistance programs, and national health objectives Released in partnership with the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Department of Health and Human Services, it is intended to provide nutritional recommendations,  information and a framework for us all to follow.(1,2)*  

The same things we do to maintain good gut health are reflected here, so to see these guidelines as they are set for the entire nation is positive. The question is will people follow them?

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee is made up of clinical researchers, healthcare practitioners, and other scientists from across the US who write the updated guidelines after independent scientific review of federal data, dietary intakes, and chronic disease rates along with current evidence. This panel makes its recommendations by following certain steps.

  1. They review the guidelines from the previous time period, this being 2015-2020
  2. They review federal data on dietary intakes and diet-related chronic disease rates
  3. They conduct systematic reviews of scientific evidence on health and nutrition
  4. They use food pattern modeling to analyze how various dietary changes will impact how the population and meet nutrient requirements. 1*

So what changed?

While many of the dietary recommendations did not change, there are three areas where they “evolved.”

The new guidelines put an emphasis on healthy individuals, individuals who are overweight or obese, as well as those with increased chronic disease risk who would benefit from healthy dietary patterns. Expanding on this theme, the new guidelines emphasize the health effects of dietary patterns as a whole instead of individual nutrients, foods, and food groups. And lastly, the current guidelines were modified in terms of their focus on a lifespan approach through a break down by stage of life starting from infancy to older adults, something that was not done before. 1*

The guidelines are broken down into four primary areas.

#1 Consume a healthful diet for your entire life

 No matter one’s age, eating a variety of healthful foods over your whole life is key for achieving long-term health and reducing your risk of developing chronic diseases especially cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Nutrient-dense foods rather than processed and packaged foods which are high in sugars, fat, sodium, preservatives, additives, and chemicals are the key. Kids eat what we feed them so it is smart to start your children off on the right foods in terms of making good choices.

According to the guidelines, the best nutrient-dense foods include:

  • Beans and legumes
  • Eggs
  • Fat-free and low-fat dairy products
  • Fruit
  • Lean meat and poultry
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains 1*

#2 Customize your dietary pattern to satisfy personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgets

Regardless of your personal tastes and preferences as well as your cultural background, these dietary guidelines are intended to allow for customization to your personal tastes and preferences. You can find healthy foods and spices in all cultures, so focus should be placed on incorporating a broad variety of foods into your diet while still honoring your heritage and preferences. Additionally, they maintain that eating a nutrient-rich diet can be done on a budget as in-season produce, along with beans and legumes are among the most cost-effective options. 1*

#3 Focus on nutrient-dense foods in order to meet your daily food group needs while staying within calorie limits.

A healthy diet can be reached by eating a variety of nutrient-dense foods from a variety of food groups. Determining your individual caloric needs depends on a number of factors to include your weight, height, age, gender, and activity level. These foods include:1*

Vegetables: Include all types and colors of vegetables in your diet, ranging from bright orange to dark greens and purples to include starchy vegetables like peas and sweet potatoes. 1*

Fruit: Consume fruit, including whole fruit.  Because juice, even if it is 100% fruit juice, lacks fiber so can cause blood sugar spikes. Canned fruit is ok, but make sure it is in 100% fruit juice, not sugary syrup.1*

Grains: Whole grains in which the bran and germ are intact should comprise at least 50% of the grains you consume. Rich in fiber, minerals, and vitamins, some good examples of these are oats, whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, and barley.

Dairy: Choose fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese to keep your saturated fat intake low.1*

Protein: You can find your protein in lean cuts of meat, fish, shellfish, poultry, and eggs. Plant-based protein can be found in beans, lentils, soy products, peas, nuts, and seeds.1*

Oils: When consuming oils, avoid animal fats and instead choose vegetable oils that are rich in unsaturated fats such as olive, avocado, and sunflower oils.1*

AVOID: Keep foods high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat to a minimum.1*

**One thing to note is that the advisory committee had proposed the recommendation for sugar intake be reduced to just 6% of daily calories but that request was denied. It remains at 10% of daily calories which the panel says can be improved upon in future guidelines. 1*

 “…As a general rule, aim to consume 85% of your calories from nutrient-dense foods and less than 15% of calories from foods and beverages composed of added sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. For the average American consumes 1,650 to 2,300 calories per day, 15% of calories is equal to approximately 250 to 350 calories…”(1,2)*

While the dietary guidelines are continually evolving just as science is evolving, these guidelines will continue to be revised every five years. .By referring to these guidelines, you will also support good gut health. Avoiding sugar and processed foods along with sticking to a whole food diet full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein all support the growth of the good bacteria we need to keep our microbiome healthy. Adding Body Biotics™ Bio-Identical SBO Probiotics Consortia™ daily is all part of this healthy regimen.*

Healthiest wishes,

Kelli

www.bodybiotics.com

References:

  1. https://www.dietaryguidelines.gov/sites/default/files/2020-12/Dietary_Guidelines_for_Americans_2020-2025.pdf
  2. https://fullscript.com/blog/dietary-guidelines-for-americans

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