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Dietary Guidelines

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015

Published by the United States Department of Agriculture and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the guidelines reflect the science-based recommendations of nutrition experts. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015 full document is available at https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/.

Physical Activity

Adults (aged 18-64)

Adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes (75 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, preferably spread throughout the week.

  • Additional health benefits are provided by increasing to 5 hours (300 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both.
  • Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week.

For more information, visit: http://health.gov/paguidelines/factsheetprof.aspx


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
  • Fruits, especially whole fruits
  • Grains, 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
  • Oils.  Most of the fats you eat should be polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats (olives, nuts, seeds, olives oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, flaxseed, wheat germ, salmon, and soybeans).

A healthy eating pattern limits: saturated fats and trans fats, added sugars, and sodium.

  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from saturated fats.  Look for foods low in saturated fats and trans fats to help reduce the risk of heart disease (5% DV or less is low, 20% DV or more is high).
  • Consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium (~ 1 teaspoon salt) per day to reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Most of the sodium people eat comes from processed foods, not from the saltshaker. A food is considered low in sodium if it has 140 mg or less of sodium per serving.
  • Consume less than 10 percent of calories per day from added sugars.

Food Safety

To avoid microbial food-borne illnesses:

  • Clean hands, food contact surfaces, and fruits and vegetables.
  • Meat and poultry should not be washed or rinsed.
  • Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing foods.
  • Chill perishable foods quickly and thaw foods properly.
  • Cook meat, poultry, and fish to safe internal temperatures to kill microorganisms.
  • Never leave meats in room temperature for more than 2 hours.
  • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs, raw or undercooked meat and poultry, unpasteurized juices, and raw sprouts.


  • Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men.
  • Avoid excessive (heavy or binge) drinking.
  • Consider the calorie content of mixers as well as the alcohol.
  • Avoid alcohol if you are:
    • pregnant or may become pregnant
    • if under the legal drinking age
    • if you are on medication that can interact with alcohol
    • if you have medical conditions that could be worsened by drinking
    • if planning to drive, operate machinery, or do other activities that could put you at risk if you are impaired.
  • If breastfeeding, wait at least 4 hours after drinking alcohol before breastfeeding. Alcohol should not be consumed at all until consistent latch on and breastfeeding patterns are established.
  • Do not begin drinking or drink more frequently on the basis of potential health benefits.