America's Nutrition Guidelines Take a Mediterranean Shift

Also, coffee gets a boost, and there's a shift in cholesterol thinking
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 7, 2016 10:59 AM CST
New Nutrition Guidelines Shift Toward Mediterranean Diet
In this Dec. 15, 2015, photo, a shopper reads a food label at Honest Weight Food Co-Op in Albany, NY.   (AP Photo/Mike Groll)

You can relax your grip on that cup of java: "Moderate coffee consumption" can be part of a healthy diet, according to new federal dietary guidelines released Thursday. In fact, three to five cups is apparently just fine, notes the Los Angeles Times. The guidelines emphasize veggies, fruits, and whole grains, include the first daily limit for added sugars, and remove a daily limit on cholesterol, reports ABC News. Some highlights:

  • To cut your risk of Type 2 diabetes and heart disease, limit added sugars to less than 10% of your daily calories. That's no more than 12 teaspoons with a 2,000-calorie diet, per NPR.
  • Previous guidelines recommended people consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol per day. That recommendation is now gone, with researchers less worried about the effects of eggs and other cholesterol-rich foods. Still, the guidelines suggest we "eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible."

  • The recommendation on sodium stays the same. Those 14 and older should eat no more than 2,300 milligrams per day. Most people consume far more.
  • Don't mix caffeine and alcohol. The combination may make people drink "more alcohol and become more intoxicated than they realize, increasing the risk of alcohol-related adverse events."
  • Though an advisory panel suggested Americans should limit red and processed meats, the guidelines don't go that far. But they do say people should eat more lean meats, eggs, nuts, seeds, and seafood for protein, per NBC News.
  • "Essentially, the new guidelines nudge US nutritional policy toward a traditional Mediterranean diet, which emphasizes consumption of fruits and vegetables, nuts and legumes drenched in such fat sources as olive, nut, canola and soybean oils," writes Melissa Healy of the Times.
(Read more diet stories.)

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