Updated US Department of Agriculture Food Patterns Meet Goals of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines

Patricia Britten, Linda E. Cleveland, Kristin L. Koegel, Kevin J. Kuczynski, Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The US Department of Agriculture Food Patterns were updated for the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to meet new nutrition goals and incorporate results of food pattern modeling requested by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. The purpose of this article is to describe the process used and changes in the updated patterns. Changes include renaming the Meat and Beans and Milk Groups to the Protein Foods and Dairy Groups, respectively, to be more encompassing of foods in each. Vegetable subgroups now provide more achievable intake recommendations. Calcium-fortified soymilk is now included in the Dairy Group because of its similarity to foods in that group. Increased amounts of seafoods are recommended in the Protein Foods Group, balanced by decreased amounts of meat and poultry. A limit on calories from solid fats and added sugars is included, replacing the previous discretionary calorie allowance and emphasizing the need to choose nutrient-dense forms of foods. Lacto-ovo vegetarian and vegan patterns that meet nutrition goals were created by making substitutions in the Protein Foods Group, and for vegan patterns, in the Dairy Group. Patterns identify food choices that meet nutritional needs within energy allowances and encourage choosing a variety of foods. They rely on foods in nutrient-dense forms, including a limited amount of calories from solid fats and added sugars. The Food Patterns provide a useful template for educating consumers about healthful food choices while highlighting a large gap between choices many Americans make and healthy eating patterns.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1648-1655
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Dietary Guidelines
  • Dietary patterns
  • USDA food patterns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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