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2020 Dietary Guidelines Near the End of Stage One

By: Julia Johnson

On Wednesday, June 16, the 2020, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) hosted a public meeting to review their draft scientific report. A new edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans is published every 5-years and developed in three stages: (I) Reviewing the science; (II) developing the guidelines; (III) implementation. The most recent meeting marks the near end of Stage I.  The following is a high-level summary of the meeting.  Most significantly, FDA intends to finalize its scientific report in mid-July, receive comments for a 30-day period, and provide an opportunity for oral comments.  

For Americans under the age of 2, the DGAC recommends that they are breastfed until they are 6-months-old. Thereafter, they may be introduced to complementary foods and beverages. Introducing peanuts and eggs within the first year of life is also recommended. Children younger than 2-years-old should also not be given foods or beverages with added sugars.

The DGAC recommends that nearly all groups of people ages 2-years and older consume a varied, nutrient-dense diet that includes vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, legumes, seafood, lean meat, and vegetable oils. They also recommend that Americans limit their intake of added sugars, refined grains, sodium, and red and processed meats. Dietary patterns that are associated with adverse or detrimental outcomes included higher intakes of red and processed meats, sugar-sweetened foods and beverages, and refined grains. However, the DGAC acknowledges that meat is and a good source of many important nutrients, such as iron. Two or more servings of cooked seafood servings per week are also recommended to achieve an overall healthy dietary pattern.

The DGAC was mindful of the impact that beverage consumption has on total energy intake and considered that intake needs vary across the lifespan. For men and women who already drink alcohol, they recommend they consume no more than one drink per day – this is a change from prior years, where the recommendation for men who drink alcohol was 2 drinks or less per day. Another change is the advised amount of energy from added sugars. Prior Dietary Guidelines have suggested that no more than 10% of energy intake be from added sugars. This year’s DGAC is recommending that this be reduced to 6% of energy.

The DGAC will finalize their report based on the discussion during the meeting and they will submit their full and final report to USDA Secretary Perdue and HHS Secretary Azar at the end of June. This report will be available for public comment beginning on or around July 15. The public will also be invited to present oral comments on the report to USDA and HHS on August 11. OFW will continue to track the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines through its implementation. Please contact us with any questions. 

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