The New 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans Feature Avocados as a Healthy Option
The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans released the last week of December will replace the previous edition and serve as the basis for all nutrition policy in the Federal Government, as well as guide the private sector activities and nutrition education efforts. It also provides the public with the most up-to-date evidence on dietary behaviors that promote health and may help prevent chronic disease.
Jointly published by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS) every five years, the guidelines provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages, from birth through older adults. Importantly, this edition takes an age and life stage approach and, for the first time, includes dietary guidance for infants and toddlers. It also puts a greater emphasis on nutrition in pregnant and lactating women.
What is new about the 2020-2025 guidelines? Compared to previous DGA, avocados are more prominently featured and represented in a more favorable light. Specific benefits of avocados through the lens of the new DGA are that:
- Avocados contribute 11% and 6% DV of fiber and potassium, respectively. Fiber and potassium comprise 2 out of 4 nutrients identified as being of public health concern in the U.S. population;
- Avocados are unique among others in their food group in that they provide healthy unsaturated fats. They are a natural choice to replace saturated fats in the U.S. diet;
- Americans dramatically under consume produce in their diet. Avocado intake has increased for the last decade making them a popular choice to help meet recommendations across the lifespan and can be utilized as a way to increase produce consumption overall; and
- Food preferences and habits are formed at a young age and carried throughout life. Avocados are unique compared to other types of produce in that they have a mild flavor profile, a smooth texture that does not pose a choking hazard, contain healthy unsaturated fats, and are naturally free of sugars and sodium, and a perfect example of a nutrient-dense choice.
The guidelines encourage Americans to “Make Every Bite Count” and because of all the nutritious and healthy benefits mentioned above, avocados can help consumers achieve DGCA scientific recommendations to do so.
Early in the new year, the Hass Avocado Board added a Sustainability Task Force to its roster of standing and special committees. During the 5 year (2021-2025) strategic planning process in 2020 the Board of Directors changed the focus of our previous sustainability efforts to that of a more core value program that the Board, and the industry must embrace as we move into the future.
Believe it or not, but the total volume of avocado fruit sold in the U.S. ROSE by 6.1% in 2020, from 2.492 billion pounds in 2019 to 2.644 billion pounds at the end of the year. One could have imagined in late March of this past year, that the industry would be seriously and financially devastated by the public health crisis we have been dealing with and the catastrophic impact it initially had on food distribution, and the dramatic impact that it had, and continues to have on the entire food service industry.
February was American Heart Month and, as in previous years, the Hass Avocado Board engaged with a marketing and communications campaign to promote the nutrition message and raise awareness on how including delicious avocados in everyday healthy eating plans can provide a whole food source of naturally good fats, fiber and other important nutrients that can reduce the risk for heart disease.