DGA Recommends Limited Added Sugars, But Recognizes Small Role for Sweets

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DGA-2015GuidanceWashington — The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) has unsurprisingly recommended added sugars comprise no more than 10 percent of daily calories, but acknowledges that there is room for candy in healthy diets.

The guidelines recognized that for some foods, such as candy, moderation through portion control is a reasonable strategy for achieving the added sugar recommendation. Further, the report emphasizes it’s a target to promote overall healthy eating patterns.

Sugar sweetened beverages are called out as the major source of added sugars in the diet in the DGA report, while “sweets & snacks” are identified as contributing 31 percent of added sugar intake. Candy is included in the latter category, which also encompasses items such as cakes, cookies, ice cream and other desserts, even though confections represents just 6 percent of added sugars in the diet.

In addition to limiting added sugars, the guidelines recommend reducing saturated fats and sodium, while increasing consumption of fruits/vegetables, whole grains, diary and lean protein.

The latest guidelines represent a shift from previous versions as these recommendations focus on eating patterns to developing good dietary habits, instead of a “good for you/bad for you” approach, which targeted specific foods and nutrients.