It’s Time to Cut Down on Sugar, Say New U.S. Dietary Guidelines

© Muriel de Seze / Getty Images

By Adam Campbell-Schmitt Posted January 07, 2016

It's the most significant new recommendation.

If you're wondering how to eat healthy in 2016, the government has some advice: cut down on added sugar. That's the most significant new recommendation in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines, just released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services. It should come as no surprise that you should avoid eating a ton of sugar—it's been linked for decades to obesity and type 2 diabetes—but this is the first time these agencies have recommended a specific cap: 10 percent of your daily caloric intake, or about 12 teaspoons in a day for someone eating 2,000 calories.

What happens when you give up sugar completely? One of our writers found out.

Here, more key takeaways from the new guidelines:

It's OK to Eat Eggs

Are eggs bad for you? Probably not, says the latest evidence, though they've been the subject of a decades-long argument about dietary cholesterol. The new guidelines say that limiting saturated fat is more important, and place no specific limit on cholesterol intake.

Red Meat Is Still Bad for You (Probably)

The guidelines put no specific limit on red and processed meats, despite recent studies linking their consumption to cancer. But they do say to get less than 10 percent of your calories from saturated fat, which rules out daily rib eyes.

Keep on Buying Skim

Low- and no-fat dairy products are still recommended over whole milk, which critics argue is an outdated notion. There's evidence that these fats might be healthy, and that they may actually kick-start our metabolism.

Keep a Cap on the Liquor

And what about booze? Men get to party a little harder with a two drink per day limit, while women just get one.

There's no doubt that these guidelines will be controversial, as they always are. The government got into the dietary recommendation business in 1977, when the U.S. Senate Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs released "Dietary Goals" under the leadership of Senator George McGovern. The scientific community immediately complained that the advice was not backed by evidence. In 1980, USDA and HHS scientists released their first set of guidelines, which they revisit every five years.

Time.com has more on the new guidelines. Watch their video:

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