What Is a Healthy Diet?

It goes without saying that there is a lot of interest in what constitutes a an ideal healthy diet among both scientists and the general public. And it also goes without saying that the general public is even more interested in the ideal diet for losing weight. But this is not a new story..There is a brief timeline illustrating the emergence of a variety of special diets.

A Timeline of Fad Diets

This is just a partial list.

USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Since 1980, guidelines have been issued and updated jointly by the Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years. The guidelines have evolved over time, as documented in the links below. However, these recommendations have been fairly consistent in recommending a balanced diet that includes adequate amounts of vegetables and fruit, and limited amounts of red meat, processed food, fat, and simple carbohydrates. The last link on the right describes the current recommendations.

1980  1985 1990 1995 2000 2005 2010 2015-2020

The evolution of the guidelines reflects the constant evaluation and incorporation of new information. In contrast to fad diets, these recommendations are based on an exhaustive review of all available information and a rigorous evaluation of the evidence by a panel of experts with a broad array of expertise. The document in the iFrame below gives and indication of how rigorously the available evidence is reviewed every five years. Note also the expertise of the committee members.

The Committee developed a socio-ecological conceptual model which embraced individual lifestyle behavior change, food and physical activity, the environment, and also food sustainability and safety. As such, you are encouraged to scan the document looking for ideas and clues about the recommendations that you will provide to Weymouth.

Scientific Report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

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