The new dietary recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee are out, and there's good news and bad news for all the coffee-drinking, dessert-loving omnivores out there. Formerly demonized foods like coffee and eggs are in, while refined sugar and processed meats continue to be dietary outcasts. Check out the highlights of the report below.
No longer seen as a necessary vice, coffee drinking can be, according to research, a healthy habit, and the committee agrees. It points to studies showing that drinking up to three to five cups of coffee a day has not been associated with any long-term health risk, and may even reduce a person's risk of diabetes and heart disease in adults. The catch? If you're a cream-and-sugar kind of coffee drinker, the panel warns that you need to watch out for the extra calories that come with your cup.
Eggs and Meat
High-cholesterol foods like eggs have gotten a bad rap for years — especially eggs, since they contain about 211 mg of cholesterol each. Past guidelines have recommended limiting cholesterol intake to 300 mg a day, but the new report says that we can ignore dietary cholesterol, since it has little to no effect on blood cholesterol levels. The panel did recommend lowering consumption of red or processed meats, which have been shown to increase your risk of early death, so it may be time to replace a meat-filled meal or two with one of these healthy egg recipes.
The new report advises that Americans consume no more than 10 percent of their daily calories in added sugars — the equivalent, for an average adult, of no more than 12 teaspoons a day. The reasons for this new recommendations are clear: added sugars are addictive and increase your risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. In fact, the American Heart Association has for years already recommended limits on added sugars that are stricter than these current suggestions: for women, no more than 100 calories per day, or about six teaspoons, of added sugar per day.
Considering that just one soda contains the equivalent of almost eight teaspoons of added sugar and that hidden sugars exist where you least expect them, it's hard to know just how much added sugar you're consuming, even if you try. Fortunately, we could be getting a little more help soon: last year, the Food and Drug Administration proposed new changes to nutrition labels, one of which includes requiring added-sugar information on each label. Until then, focusing on whole, fresh foods that you prepare yourself — as well as knowing other sneaky names for sugar in packaged foods — is always a good idea.
These new recommendations aren't set guidelines — they are sent to the Department of Health and Human Services in order to help inform policy decisions — but you can use the panels' advice now to start making smart decisions in your own diet. Check out the full report here.