They finally released the 2015 Dietary Guidelines and as expected they’re as politicized as ever.  Here’s a breakdown of what exactly the dietary guidelines are and what they should be.

Making Sense of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines
Okay wait, I’m supposed to eat what now?

The new dietary guidelines try to clear up confusion about serving sizes.  But I’m not thinking it really works with descriptions like 1 cup of spinach equals a half cup of vegetables, 1 oz of nuts equals 2 oz’s or protein, and 1/4 cup of raisins equals half a cup of fruits.  Cause that totally makes sense to most people, right?

Oh, and you want to know what else?  Evidently 1 cup of fruit juice equals one cup of fruit.  What the h*ll?  That’s as bad as ketchup being a vegetable.  They do note that only the percentage of real fruit juice counts.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s look at what exactly we’re supposed to be eating according the USDA.  All numbers are based off of a 2000 calorie diet.


6 oz per day with half of them as whole grains.

Examples of 1 oz include:

  • 1 slice of bread
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal grains
  • 1 oz uncooked rice or pasta
  • 1  6-in tortilla
  • 1 5-in pancake
  • 1 oz of packaged cereal (about 1 cup)


Yep, still it’s own category.  Do you actually need 6 servings of grains per day?  Nope, but guess what is subsidized by the USDA.


2 & 1/2 cups per day.

Over the week:

  • 1 & 1/2 cups dark green
  • 5 & 1/2 cups red and orange
  • 1 & 1/2 cups beans and peas
  • 5 cups starchy
  • 4 cups other

Examples of 1 cup vegetables:

  • Dark green
    • 1 cup broccoli
    • 1 cup cooked greens
    • 2 cups raw leafy greens
  • Red and orange
    • 1 cup carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, red pepper, sweet potato, winter squash
    • 1 cup tomato juice (Huh?)
  • Beans and peas
    • 1 cup, cooked, black, garbanzo, kidney, pinto, soy, black eyed peas, and split peas
  • Starchy
    • 1 cup corn
    • 1 cup peas
    • 1 cup mashed white potato
    • 1 medium boiled or baked potato
    • 20 medium to long French Fries!!!
  • Other
    • 1 cup cooked bean sprouts,
    • 1 cup cabbage, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, green or wax beans, green peppers, mushrooms, onions, summer squash, and zucchini
    • 2 cups lettuce


Umm…why exactly are tomato juice and french fries on this list?  Juice removes all the fiber and last I checked french fries do not classify as a vegetable.  By the way, I had to dig for this vegetable list.


2 cups per day

Examples of 1 cup:

  • 1 cup of any fresh, frozen, canned, or cooked fruit
  • 1 cup 100% juice (1 cup 50% juice equals 1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit


Okay, I get dried fruit equaling half a serving since it’s dehydrated, but it still equals the calories of the full serving.  And since when has juice been considered a fruit?  Uh, never.


3 cups of nonfat or 1% per day

Examples of 1 cup:

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fortified soy milk
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 & 1/2 oz hard cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheese
  • 1/2 cup ricotta
  • 2 cups cottage cheese
  • 1 cup pudding
  • 1 cup frozen yogurt
  • 1 & 1/2 cup ice cream


Yes, you read that right, the dietary guidelines recommend only 1% and nonfat or soy milk.  But ice cream works too.  Just be sure to choose the low fat kind because of excess calories.  Since obviously we know who well the low fat craze has worked in the past and the fact that we need dietary fat to absorb calcium, but whatever.

Soy is on the list as the only non-dairy alternative because it’s fortified to have milk’s nutrition.  Or was that because soy is subsidized by the USDA?  Hmm… maybe both, but I’ll hold off on the soy since there’s conflicting research on the effect on our hormones, thanks.

Protein Foods

A whopping 5 & 1/2 oz a day with 8 oz of fish per week.

Examples of 1 oz:

  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp peanut or almond butter
  • 1/2 oz nuts
  • 1/4 cup beans
  • 2 tbsp hummus
  • 1 oz lean meats like chicken breast, turkey breast, very lean beef and pork
  • 1 oz fish or shellfish
  • 1/4 cup tofu
  • 1 oz tempeh


Really?  Only 5 and 1/2 oz?  That’s 2 eggs for breakfast, 1 oz turkey for lunch, and whole 2 and 1/2 oz of chicken at dinner.  How generous that is.

By the way 5 and 1/2 ounces of chicken breast is only 38.5 grams of protein and about 170 calories.


6 tsp per day.  This list is all kinds of convoluted.


  • 1 tbsp of vegetable oils equal 3 tsp
  • 1 tbsp margarine or mayonnaise equal 2 and 1/2 tsp
  • 2 tbsp Italian dressing equals 2 tsp
  • 4 olives equal 1/2 tsp
  • 1/2 avocado equals 3 tsp
  • 1 oz dry roasted nuts equals 3 tsp
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter equals 4 tsp


Yep, good luck remembering that.

What’s wrong with this?

Let’s compare the way that the guidelines tell someone to eat to the recommendations for sports nutrition and dietetics.

We’ll take a 35 year old female that’s 5′ 7″ and 145 lbs with moderate activity.

The numbers show that there is still a push for low-fat and high-carbs in the 2015 dietary guidelines.
The numbers show that there is still a push for low-fat and high-carbs in the 2015 dietary guidelines.

It’s obvious that there is still a push for low fat and high carbohydrates based on the numbers on the 2015 dietary guidelines.

I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather eat a much more balanced diet based on sports nutrition science than the carb heavy, politically driven nutrition guidelines.

What do you think of the new dietary guidelines?  Do you think they’re right for you or would you rather follow sports nutrition?  Share below in the comments.

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