Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

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Part D. Chapter 6: Cross-Cutting Topics of Public Health Importance - Continued

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Chapter Summary

The DGAC encourages the consumption of healthy dietary patterns that are low in saturated fat, added sugars, and sodium. The conclusions in this chapter complement the findings from Part D. Chapter 1: Food and Nutrient Intakes, and Health: Current Status and Trends and Part D. Chapter 2: Dietary Patterns, Foods and Nutrients, and Health Outcomes. The goals for the general population are: less than 2,300 mg dietary sodium per day (or age-appropriate Dietary Reference Intake amount), less than 10 percent of total calories from saturated fat per day, and a maximum of 10 percent of total calories from added sugars per day.

Sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars are not intended to be reduced in isolation, but as a part of a healthy dietary pattern. Rather than focusing purely on reduction, emphasis should be placed on replacement and shifts in food intake and eating patterns. Sources of saturated fat should be replaced with unsaturated fat, particularly polyunsaturated fatty acids. Similarly, added sugars should be reduced in the diet and not replaced with low-calorie sweeteners, but rather with healthy options, such as water in place of sugar-sweetened beverages. For sodium, emphasis should be placed on expanding industry efforts to reduce the sodium content of foods and helping consumers understand how to flavor unsalted foods with spices and herbs.

Achieving reductions in sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars, can all be accomplished and are more attainable by eating a healthy dietary pattern. For all three of these components of the diet, policies and programs at local, state, and national levels in both the private and public sector are necessary to support reduction efforts. Similarly, the Committee supports efforts in labeling and other campaigns to increase consumer awareness and understanding of sodium, saturated fats, and added sugars in foods and beverages. The Committee encourages the food industry to continue reformulating and making changes to certain foods to improve their nutrition profile. Examples of such actions include lowering sodium and added sugars content, achieving better saturated fat to polyunsaturated fat ratio, and reducing portion sizes in retail settings (restaurants, food outlets, and public venues, such as professional sports stadiums and arenas). The Committee also encourages the food industry to market these improved products to consumers.

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