The federal government has released its new dietary guidelines, the official recommendations that influence everything from what goes into school lunches to suggestions on the best way to feed your family. This time, they’re focusing less on individual foods and more on eating a varied, well-balanced diet overall.
Here are four things you need to know.
1. Add more variety.
Eating a wide range of nutrient-dense food helps ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to stay healthy. As you can probably guess, that means getting plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and healthy oils.
2. Cut back on calories from added sugars and saturated fat.
Both added sugars and saturated fat have been linked to heart disease and other serious chronic conditions. To combat this, the new guidelines recommend limiting added sugar and saturated fat to 10 percent each of your total daily calories.
Think of it this way: For a 1,500-calorie diet, you’d be allowed up to 150 calories from added sugar – about one can of sugary soda. Currently, it can be hard to tell how many calories in a food come from added sugar, but the Food and Drug Administration likely will update nutrition labels to make that easier.
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3. Guys, eat less meat.
One surprise coming out of the new guidelines: Men and teenaged boys tend to eat much more protein from meat and eggs than they need. To cut back, the government suggests reducing meat and poultry and eating more fruits and veggies. This might mean skipping out on the occasional T-bone steak or cheeseburger, but your body will thank you in the long run. Bonus: This will help with reducing saturated fat, too.
4. Don’t be confused about cholesterol.
The new guidelines don’t include the previous recommendation to limit cholesterol to 300mg/day – but that doesn’t mean you get to load up on fries and cheese dip. Foods that are high in cholesterol are usually full of saturated fat, too. Cut out the fatty foods, and you won’t have to worry about your cholesterol.
This content originally appeared on Sharecare.com.