That second cup of coffee? OK. Eggs for breakfast every day? Yes. Some red meat? Go ahead. Just avoid sugary beverages and eat more vegetables and whole grains.
This is the advice coming from the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, a group that meets every five years to evaluate the American diet. The group looks at findings on nutrition and disease prevention and makes recommendations to both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services, who will create a final set of dietary guidelines by the end of this year. Those guidelines will shape menus of school lunch programs and food assistance programs.
The new recommendations will no longer limit cholesterol intake to 400 milligrams a day because many studies have shown there is no correlation between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels.
The committee stressed, as it has in the past, that Americans do not eat enough vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy products, or whole grains and that most people take in too many calories, with too much saturated fat, added sugar, and salt. It is now recommending that people focus not on how much fat they are eating but the types of fat in their foods. Added sugars should be kept to no more than 200 calories a day, about the amount in 16 ounces of soda.
The committee also recommended three types of diet that stay to less than 30% fat: the Mediterranean diet, a vegetarian diet, and a diet based on American foods that keeps to healthy amounts of fat, salt, and sugar.
And three to five cups of coffee are OK, but watch the added calories of milk and sugar. Pregnant women should keep to two cups of coffee a day or less.