How America Should Eat: The DGAC Report Is Out

by Simona Terron

It’s out—the report that provides guidelines on healthy eating, based on studies and research on America’s current habits. Prepared by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), a team of nationally recognized nutrition and health experts, the report encourages us to eat right and maintain healthy weight for good health and disease prevention.

Aptly coinciding with National Nutrition Month, it is reviewed, updated, and published every five years in a joint effort between the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA). Let’s take a closer look at what it has to say:

Here’s a quick look at the highlights:


Alarming Facts & Stats:
According to the DGAC report, 50 percent of energy intake in the American diet comes from a combination of burgers and sandwiches (14 percent), desserts and sweet snacks (8.5 percent), sugary beverages (6.5 percent), mixed dishes made with rice, pasta, and other grains (5.5 percent), savory snacks (5 percent), pizza (4.3 percent), and meat, poultry and seafood dishes (4 percent). Nearly half of total sugar intake comes from beverages other than milk and 100 percent fruit juice.

DGAC 2015 Comments On Current Food Issues:
The committee notes how saturated fat, sugar, packaged food and soda are the main culprits associated with food-related health issues in the country today. It provides possible solutions for each of these. 

  • Saturated Fat: Replacing it with unsaturated fat can significantly reduce total and LDL cholesterol, while strong and consistent evidence shows that replacing SFA (saturated fatty acids) with PUFA (polyunsaturated fatty acids) reduces the risk of CVD (cardiovascular disease) and coronary mortality.
  • Sugar: Strong and consistent evidence shows that the excessive intake of added sugar from food and sugar-sweetened beverages is associated with excess body weight in children and adults. Studies show that this increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, and that this relationship is not fully explained by body weight.
  • Food Labels: The report suggests that consumers would benefit from a standardized, easily understood front-of-package (FOP) label on all food and beverage products, to give clear guidance about a food’s healthfulness.
  • Soda Taxes: Pricing approaches, using incentives and disincentives, should be explored to promote the purchase of healthier foods and beverages. For example, taxes on beverages with high sugar content may compel consumers to reduce their consumption.

 DGAC 2015 Recommends:

  • A healthy dietary pattern that is higher in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low or non-fat dairy, seafood, legumes, and nuts; moderate in alcohol (among adults); lower in red and processed meat; and low in sugar-sweetened food and drinks, and refined grains.
  • A diet higher in plant-based food, and lower in calories and animal-based food, is not only more nutritious, it is also associated with less environmental impact than the current American diet.
  • A higher level of physical activity is the need of the hour. It should become a national priority, where individuals and organizations, private business, and communities work together to achieve a population-wide culture of health, where healthy lifestyle choices are easy, accessible, affordable, and normative.

With support forthcoming from the government, healthy living is definitely on everyone’s minds. Go ahead, take the necessary steps to making your family’s health a top priority.


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