The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, released today by the departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, promote what the agencies call “small, doable shifts” in daily eating habits to curb obesity and diet-related diseases.

The federal government updates its nutrition advice every five years. The guidelines advise Americans on healthful eating and help drive federal nutrition policy in such areas as school lunches and food labeling.

The National Restaurant Association engaged extensively with USDA, HHS and other groups as the new guidelines were developed, advocating policies based on sound science and that recognize all that restaurants do to provide Americans with a range of healthful options and choices.

The federal agencies noted that food products and menus have evolved to meet changing consumer demands and public health concerns, and encouraged the food industry to continue to modify menus and offer a variety of nutritious food and portion sizes that align with the new guidelines.

Association research shows that 85 percent of American adults say there are more healthy options at restaurants compared to just two years ago.

The 2015 guidelines look at healthy eating patterns as a whole, rather than focusing on individual nutrients or foods in isolation.

“A healthy eating pattern is not a rigid prescription, but rather, an adaptable framework in which individuals can enjoy foods that meet their personal, cultural, and traditional preferences and fit within their budget,” the agencies say.

USDA and HHS offer an extensive list of recommendations under five overarching guidelines:

  • Follow a healthy eating pattern across the lifespan.
  • Focus on variety, nutrient-dense foods, and amount.
  • Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake.
  • Shift to healthier food and beverage choices.
  • Support healthy eating patterns for all, including a variety of nutritious foods like vegetables, fruit, grain, low-fat and fat-free dairy, lean meat and other protein, and oil, while limiting saturated fats, trans fats, added sugars and sodium.

At least half the grains Americans consume should be whole grain, the guidelines suggest.

This is the first version of the dietary guidelines to recommend a quantitative limit on consumption of added sugar. The new guidelines encourage people to consume less than 10 percent of calories a day from added sugar and less than 10 percent of calories a day from saturated fat.

Get more details on the dietary guidelines.