Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015-20 and 2020-25)

The newest edition of Dietary guidelines differs from its predecessor based on the grown scientific knowledge. The first significant difference consists in increasing the scope of the target audience. The previous edition was focused primarily on individuals with overweight, at risk of chronic diseases, or the ones with no health issues at all (U.S. Department of Agriculture [USDA] & U.S. Department of health and human services [HHS], 2015). 2020-2025 edition motivates everyone, without adherence to their health status, to support healthy dietary patterns (USDA & HHS, 2020). Another fundamental difference between the editions lies in the stronger emphasis of the newer on the advantages of a lifespan dietary approach. Not only does it have a whole chapter devoted to infants and toddlers, which is unique across all editions, but it also provides dietary patterns for every other individual’s life stage.

However, despite its undeniable advance, the 2020-2025 version’s recommendations still resemble many similarities with their previous 2015-2020 iteration. For example, the Guidelines’ focus on healthy dietary patterns as a general rule of thumb – not on consuming particular nutrients and foods separately – remains the same. Another feature that persisted in the book is the provision of generalized overarching guidelines as a source of motivation for supporting the dietary patterns.

There are four overarching guidelines in the latest edition of Dietary guidelines:

  1. An individual should support a healthy dietary pattern through thought his life. By fulfilling the nutrient needs and maintaining healthy body weight, it is possible to minimize the risk of chronic disease occurrence (USDA & HHS, 2020).
  2. An individual can adjust the healthy dietary pattern according to the circumstances and his liking. There is a great variety of possibilities for pattern customization, which makes healthy nutrition an option for everyone, no matter the preferential, ethnic, or budget differences.
  3. An individual should keep in mind the needs of different food groups and the consumable amount of calories. A well-balanced in its variety and quantity of nutrition has proven to positively affect the overall health condition (USDA & HHS, 2020).
  4. An individual should limit the consumption of added sugar, saturated fat, sodium, and alcohol. The limitation is required to reduce the risk of possible chronic diseases.

The new iteration undertook several changes compared to the five overarching guidelines listed in the 2015-2020 edition. Overall, it kept all features that describe healthy dietary patterns. However, the advice to prefer nutrient-dense and diversified food to the less healthy options is now left out. In addition, the appeal to spread the awareness of healthy dietary patterns is also missing from the 2020-2025 version (USDA & HHS, 2015). Both features were moved into the more detailed parts of the book, thus making the overarching guidelines more precise and understandable.

The recommendations did not change in the later version regarding the saturated fat intake. The main rule is to reduce it to less than 10 percent per day of the total calories consumed (USDA & HHS, 2020). Although, there is a slight adjustment to the strategies for lowering fat consumption. Apart from advising to study the product’s labels and choosing the products with lesser fat content, the 2020-2025 version encourages the consumption of fewer desserts and sweet snacks. In general, the newer version is more precise in the provided examples of fast food and its possible replacements. Additionally, it was discovered in 2018 that partially hydrogenated oils containing trans fats are not safe for consumption (USDA & HHS, 2020). Therefore, a piece of advice about consuming as low amounts of trans fats and cholesterol as possible was added to the guidelines’ latest iteration.


U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2020). Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025. Web.

U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2015). 2015 – 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Web.

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