A panel that plays an important role in shaping the federal government’s official dietary guidelines released new recommendations on Thursday, according to the New York Times. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee issues new recommendations every five years.
Overall patterns of eating, like vegetarianism, are emphasized over individual foods or nutrients. But the verdicts on certain nutrients were revised this year. Cholesterol was removed from a list of nutrients of concern after studies showed a tenuous link between dietary cholesterol (found in eggs and meats) and blood cholesterol, which is associated with an elevated risk of heart disease.
Added sugars are a particular point of concern. Sugars have long been considered unhealthy, but this is the first time the panel recommended explicit limitations. It said that sugar should account for less than 10 percent of daily calories, which is 12 teaspoons for an average adult. The average American consumes two to three times that much, the panel said.
A controversial aspect of the recommendations is the emphasis on avoiding saturated fat. Several recent studies have challenged the conventional, long-standing view that saturated fat is unhealthy. (Fat, as it happens, is having a moment among certain endurance athletes.)
In welcome news to caffeine addicts, the panel reported that there are no ill effects from drinking up to five cups of coffee a day, reports Vox.