Diet report: Sugary drinks are out; coffee, eggs are in

WASHINGTON -- An extra cup or two of coffee may be OK after all. More eggs, too. But you definitely need to drink less sugary soda. And, as always, don't forget your vegetables.

Recommendations Thursday from a government advisory committee call for an environmentally friendly diet lower in red and processed meats. But the panel would reverse previous guidance on limiting dietary cholesterol. And it says the caffeine in a few cups of coffee actually could be good for you.

The committee also is backing off stricter limits on salt, though it says Americans still get much too much.

It's recommending the first real limits on added sugar, saying that's especially a problem for young people.

The Agriculture and Health and Human Services Departments will take those recommendations into account in writing final 2015 dietary guidelines by the end of the year. The guidelines affect nutritional patterns throughout the country -- from federally subsidized school lunches to food package labels to your doctor's advice.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said "it is by no means over" with the release of the report.

The government will take comments on the advice before distilling it -- and possibly changing it -- into final guidelines for consumers.

Even with the changes, the report sticks to the basic message of the previous guidelines in 2010: Eat more fruits and vegetables and whole grains; eat less saturated fats, salt and sugar.

The report says dietary cholesterol now is "not considered a nutrient of concern for overconsumption."

This follows increasing medical research showing the amount of cholesterol in your bloodstream is more complicated than once thought.