Earlier this month, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released their first update in five years to the national dietary recommendations. For many physicians and scientists who contributed to the report upon which these guidelines are based, the federally approved guidelines are a watered-down version of the original suggestions because they eliminated such advice as cutting back on red and processed meat, says Dr. Donald Hensrud, MD, medical director of the Mayo Clinic Healthy Living Program and editor of The Mayo Clinic Diet.
One trend in nutrition he is grateful the USDA has incorporated is the move away from focusing on particular nutrients and toward focusing on archetypes of habits—such as consuming a Mediterranean or a vegetarian diet. “We used to use a reductionist approach to diet by zooming in on the specific nutrient,” he says. “Over the last few years, we have shifted toward encouraging patterns of eating and the foods associated with those patterns: greens, whole grains, and fruits.” Here, Dr. Hensrud takes the new guidelines one step further with practical recommendations to help 2016 be your healthiest—and tastiest—year yet.