2005 Dietary Guidelines For Americans
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The 2005 Dietary Guidelines are something we all should be familiar with and practice each and every day. These guidelines for Americans have been revised and published every 5 years since 1980 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The guidelines provide advice for people two years and older about how good nutritional habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases.

Adequate Nutrients Within Calorie Needs

  • Make smart choices from every food group. Choose foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol.
  • Be sure to stay within your daily calorie (energy) needs. Meet these energy needs by following a balanced eating pattern, such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan.
  • Check out this website for additional information on the food pyramid: Steps to a Healthier You
  • Information on the DASH eating plan (PDF) 
  • Weight Management
  • To maintain body weight in a healthy range, balance calories from foods and beverages with calories expended. Know your BMI which is your body mass index. See chapter three (figure 2) of the dietary guidelines for a copy of the BMI chart:
  • To prevent gradual weight gain over time, make small decreases in food and beverage calories and increase physical activity.
  • Go to the USDA Food Guide to determine your calorie requirements based on age, gender and physical activity level.

Physical Activity

  • Engage in regular physical activity and reduce sedentary activities to promote health, psychological well-being, and a healthy body weight.
  • To reduce the risk of chronic disease in adulthood: Engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, at work or home on most days of the week. See chapter three, table 4 (Calories/Hour Expended in Common Physical Activities), for more information on moderate and vigorous activities:
  • For most people, greater health benefits can be obtained by engaging in physical activity of more vigorous intensity or longer duration.
  • To help manage body weight and prevent gradual, unhealthy body weight gain in adulthood: Engage in approximately 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity on most days of the week while not exceeding calorie requirements.
  • To sustain weight loss in adulthood: Participate in at least 60 to 90 minutes of daily moderate-intensity physical activity while not exceeding calorie requirements. Some people may need to consult with a healthcare provider before participating in this level of activity.
  • Achieve physical fitness by including cardiovascular conditioning, stretching exercises for flexibility, and resistance exercises or calisthenics for muscle strength and endurance.
  • Get enough physical activity to stay fit and burn those extra calories.

Food Groups to Encourage

  • Consume enough fruits and vegetables while staying within energy needs. Two cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables per day are recommended for a person following a 2,000-calorie a day nutritional plan. This amount will be either higher or lower, depending on the calorie level.
  • Choose a variety of fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Consume 3 ounces or more of whole-grain products per day. In general, at least half the grains should come from whole grains.
  • Consume 3 cups per day of fat-free or low-fat milk or other milk product equivalent every day.


  • Strive to consume less than 10 percent of calories from saturated fatty acids and less than 300 mg/day of cholesterol, and keep trans-fatty acid consumption as low as possible.
  • Keep total fat intake between 20 to 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, such as fish, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • When selecting and preparing meat, poultry, dry beans, and milk or milk products, make choices that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free.
  • Limit intake of fats and oils high in saturated and/or trans-fatty acids, and choose products low in such fats and oils.


  • Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains often.
  • Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners. Sugars contribute calories with few nutrients.
  • Reduce the incidence of dental caries by practicing good oral hygiene and by consuming sugar-and starch-containing foods and beverages less often.

Sodium and Potassium

  • Consume less than 2,300 mg (approximately 1 teaspoon of salt) of sodium per day. This may help reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
  • Choose and prepare foods with little salt.
  • Include potassium-rich foods, such as fruits and vegetables.

Alcoholic Beverages

  • Those who choose to drink alcoholic beverages should do so sensibly and in moderation which is defined as the consumption of up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men.
  • Alcoholic beverages should not be consumed by some individuals, including those who cannot limit their alcohol intake, women of childbearing age who may become pregnant, pregnant and lactating women, individuals taking medication that can interact with alcohol, and those with specific medical conditions.
  • Talk to your physician or healthcare provider with further questions or concerns regarding alcohol intake.
  • Alcoholic beverages should be avoided by individual's engaging in activities that require attention, skill or coordination, such as driving or operating machinery.

Food Safety

To avoid food borne illness:

  • Clean hands, food contact surfaces, and fruits and vegetables. Meat and poultry should not be washed or rinsed to avoid spreading bacteria to other foods.
  • Separate raw, cooked, and ready-to-eat foods while shopping, preparing, or storing foods.
  • Cook foods to a safe temperature to kill microorganisms.
  • Chill (refrigerate) perishable food promptly and defrost foods properly.
  • Avoid raw (unpasteurized) milk or any products made from unpasteurized milk, raw or partially cooked eggs or foods containing raw eggs, or raw or undercooked eggs, meat and poultry, unpasteurized juices, and raw sprouts.
  • See chapter 10 of the Dietary Guidelines which is on food safety. (Figure 5 contains temperatures for safe cooking and handling of food.)
  • Most food packages have a nutrition facts label. Use this tool to help make wise food selections. Prepare, handle and store food safely. The food, beverage and lifestyle choices you make every day affect your overall health. Choose wisely!

Please visit this website for more information on the 2005 Guidelines.

These websites/links are provided for your general information. The site information provided does not necessarily constitute an endorsement of any organization, nor is disapproval implied of sites not mentioned. The reference links provided are maintained by their organizations and they are solely responsible for their content, update, maintenance and policies and procedures.


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