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Cheat Sheet for Dietary Guidelines

Hold on to your take-out menus and grocery store lists. The first new dietary guidelines since 2005 came out today.

The guidelines, which come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services, recommend going for the biggest nutritional bang for your calorie, since most Americans need to watch their calorie budgets.

The guidelines recommend choosing these foods:

  • Vegetables and fruits. Especially dark green, red, and orange vegetables; beans; and peas.
  • Whole grains. These should account for at least half of your servings of grains.
  • Seafood in place of some red meat. If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, don’t eat tilefish, shark, swordfish, and king mackerel, and limit white (albacore tuna to 6 ounces per week)
  • Healthy oils such as olive oil and vegetable oils. That’s in place of, not in addition to, solid fats such as butter and lard.

Also new: Sections for vegetarians and vegans, information on food allergies and intolerances, and new recommendations on how much dairy kids should get (2.5 cups per day – half a cup more than previously recommended).

Here is what WebMD Nutrition Director Kathleen Zelman, MPH, RD, says about the guidelines.

No foods are forbidden. And there are no shockers here — it’s the basic, commonsense nutrition principles, backed up by a thorough review of reams of research.

The question is: Will you follow the guidelines? Tell us. And if you want to read the guidelines, they’re online at

Check back for more resources from WebMD to help put the dietary guidelines to work for you.


The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand


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