Today marks the release of the 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2015–2020)1. The report is published by the Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Agriculture (USDA), under the advisement of an independent group of experts that make up the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC).

The new 2015–2020 report exhibits a marked shift in focus, from individual components such as nutrients and food groups, toward a larger scale view of American’s overall eating patterns. The report also claims that any changes to diet do not necessarily need to be all or none scenarios. The summary makes this point clear, “[These guidelines] are an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget.”

At the top level, the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines focuses on 5 eating habits which will be familiar to most healthcare professionals. Emphasis is put on monitoring eating patterns, and choosing a variety of foods. There’s a focus on nutrient dense foods and a call to move away from calories with added sugars and saturated fats. The authors stress the interconnected relationship of food. Although eating patterns suggested should be fully adhered to, the report suggests that there are many ways to translate the Dietary Guidelines into everyday food consumption.