Guidelines for Healthy Eating

  • Linda Van HornEmail author


Only since the 1940s has the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine provided recommended dietary allowances (RDAs) for Americans, and not until 1993 were the dietary reference intakes (DRIs) supplied. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was launched in the 1960s for the purpose of monitoring the dietary intake of the US population on a regular basis and identifying nutrients of concern. These data now represent the backbone of ongoing dietary surveillance in this country. In 1980, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) published the first US Dietary Guidelines for Americans that are reviewed and updated every 5 years. The NHANES data help to measure population-wide adherence to these guidelines as well as provide evidence of nutrient inadequacies and excesses. With advances in diet assessment methodology and biostatistical analyses, research has provided evidence beyond single nutrients to include whole foods, food groups, and even eating patterns. These data juxtaposed with technological advances in measuring biomarkers, metabolites, and the microbiome offer and ever-increasing awareness of the importance of diet and eating behaviors in achieving optimal health and reducing risk for chronic diseases. A review of current dietary guidelines based on extensive systematic reviews conducted by major national health and medical organizations is provided and their commonalities and differences are discussed.


Healthy eating Diet quality Diet adherence Diet and lifestyle Nutrient density 



American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association


American Heart Association


Alternative Healthy Eating Index


Adequate intake


Blood pressure


Centers for Disease Control


Dietary approaches for stopping hypertension


Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report


Department of Health and Human Services


Dietary reference intakes


Estimated average requirement


Food-frequency questionnaire


Food and Nutrition Board


Healthy Eating Index


High-density lipoprotein–cholesterol


Institute of Medicine


Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol


Nutrition Evidence Library


National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


Recommended dietary allowances


Type-2 diabetes


Upper intake level


US Department of Agriculture


US Dietary Guidelines


World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Preventive MedicineNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

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