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New Dietary Guidelines: Limit Added Sugars but Enjoy That Coffee

Government released updated dietary guidelines for first time in five years.

ByABC News
January 7, 2016, 8:15 AM

— -- New recommendations for sugar, coffee and cholesterol consumption have been made in dietary guidelines released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, with good news for coffee drinkers.

It's the first government update to the dietary guidelines in five years and has new guidelines for people who enjoy a daily cup of coffee, added sugar and cholesterol-laden foods.

"Protecting the health of the American public includes empowering them with the tools they need to make healthy choices in their daily lives," Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement today. "By focusing on small shifts in what we eat and drink, eating healthy becomes more manageable. The Dietary Guidelines provide science-based recommendations on food and nutrition so people can make decisions that may help keep their weight under control, and prevent chronic conditions, like Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease."

For the first time, the government gives a limit to the amount of added sugar that people should consume on a daily basis. The new guidelines recommend people make sure added sugars make up less than 10 percent of their daily calories. Previously, the government just recommended people "reduce the intake" of added sugars.

Coffee-lovers rejoice! The new guidelines mention coffee for the first time and advise that "moderate coffee consumption" can be part of a healthy diet.

But the guidelines say those who consume both caffeine and alcohol should avoid the substances at the same time. The caffeine may lead people to consume "more alcohol and become more intoxicated than they realize, increasing the risk of alcohol-related adverse events."

One of the biggest changes is the removal of a daily recommended limit for cholesterol. Previously, people were advised to consume less than 300 milligrams of cholesterol in their diet per day.

But the removal of a daily limit does not mean to go nuts with a cholesterol-heavy foods. The guidelines recommend people "eat as little dietary cholesterol as possible" while building a healthy diet.

While there was speculation that recommendations for maximum-advised sodium consumption would change, the dietary guidelines on that remain the same, with the recommendation that people 14 and older eat no more than 2,300 milligrams per day.

The five overarching guidelines will not be a surprise, with a focus on eating healthy by avoiding saturated fats, sodium and added sugars in favor of nutrient-dense foods.

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
  • Eating patterns are the combination of foods and drinks that a person eats over time. Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount.
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake.
  • Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
  • Support healthy eating patterns for all.