The guidelines for 2015-2020, published in January, place emphasis on the big picture, nutrient dense dietary patterns (examples are given) and the need to shift choices. They apply to people over the age of two and, unlike the UK guidelines, propose quantities of foods at different calorie levels for each of six different food groups.
A healthy diet is described as: a variety of vegetable types; fruits; grains, at least half of which should be whole grains; fat-free or low-fat dairy products and/or fortified soya beverages; a variety of protein foods including seafood, lean meat and poultry, eggs, legumes, nuts, seeds and soya products; and oils.
The term 'nutrient density' refers to nutritional value not being diluted by the addition of solid fats, sugars, refined starches or salt.
Limit on added sugars
Gone is the advice to strictly limit eggs owing to their cholesterol content and new is a quantitative limit on added sugars set at 10% of calories (the equivalent limit in the UK is 5%).
Limits remain on sodium (salt), saturated fat, trans fat and alcohol. Physical activity guidelines exist in tandem.