30 May, 2016    #80

Dietary Guidelines for Health & Life: Eating Patterns

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Over the course of any given day, week, or year, each of us consumes specific foods and beverages in combination, or in "eating patterns". An eating pattern is more than the sum of its parts; it represents the totality of what individuals habitually eat and drink and how these dietary components act synergistically in relation to our health.


As a result, eating patterns may be more predictive of overall health status and disease risk than individual foods or nutrients. Thus, eating patterns, and their food and nutrient components, are at the core of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The goal of the Dietary Guidelines is for individuals throughout all stages of their lifespan to have eating patterns that promote overall health and help prevent chronic disease.


The Dietary Guidelines’ Key Recommendations for healthy eating patterns should be applied in their entirety, given the interconnected relationship that each dietary component can have with others.



Key Recommendations

Consume a healthy eating pattern that accounts for all foods and beverages within an appropriate calorie level.

A Healthy Eating Pattern Includes:


A variety of vegetables from all of the subgroups
dark green, red and orange, legumes (beans and peas), starchy, and other


especially whole fruits


at least half of which are whole grains


Fat-free or low-fat dairy
including milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or fortified soy beverages


A variety of protein foods
including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), and nuts, seeds, and soy products




A Healthy Eating Pattern Limits:

Saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium

Consume less than 10 percent of daily calories from Added Sugars
Consume less than 10 percent of daily calories from Saturated Fats
Consume less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) per day of Sodium (found in Salt)
Alcohol should be Consumed In Moderation
up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men


Healthy eating patterns support a healthy body weight and can help prevent and reduce the risk of chronic disease throughout periods of growth, development, and aging as well as during pregnancy.

The following principles apply to meeting the Key Recommendations listed above:


An eating pattern represents the totality of all foods and beverages consumed.

All foods consumed as part of a healthy eating pattern fit together like a puzzle to meet nutritional needs without exceeding limits, such as those for saturated fats, added sugars, sodium, and total calories. All forms of foods, including fresh, canned, dried, and frozen, can be included in healthy eating patterns.


Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods.

Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods. Foods in nutrient-dense forms contain essential vitamins and minerals and also dietary fiber and other naturally occurring substances that may have positive health effects. In some cases, fortified foods and dietary supplements may be useful in providing one or more nutrients that otherwise may be consumed in less than recommended amounts.


Healthy eating patterns are adaptable.

Individuals have more than one way to achieve a healthy eating pattern. Any eating pattern can be tailored to the individual’s socio-cultural and personal preferences.


Our next Trax News article will reveal the science behind healthy eating patterns.

Bon Appétit



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Thanks for Reading Trax News!


Mike Kohut, President, DDMS




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