Every five years, when the release of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s Scientific Report (DGAC) is made public, the recommendations are reviewed and evaluated across the food value chain. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) serve as the underpinning of all federal government nutrition programs like school nutrition, WIC and SNAP. They are the evidence-based guidelines from which food recommendations are made to promote optimal health and reduce chronic diseases across our lifespan. This is the first time the DGAs will address the lifespan starting at birth to age 24 months, rather than the current age of two years and above.
Here is a snapshot of the recommendations:
- Focus on eating patterns, not individual nutrients. The committee concluded the three food patterns from the current Dietary Guidelines — Healthy U.S.-Style Eating Pattern, Healthy Vegetarian Eating Pattern, and Healthy Mediterranean-Style Eating Pattern — provide the nutrition needed throughout our lifespan.
- Shift focus on eating more, not less, nutrient-dense foods. The scientific report reflects our continued underconsumption of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy, the main sources of calcium, vitamin D, potassium and dietary fiber, as nutrients of public health concern.
- Maintain dairy as a separate food group. Dairy is among the top sources of calcium, vitamin D and potassium (three of the four under-consumed nutrients) and a powerhouse for other key nutrients.
- Reduce added sugars, like those in sodas and sports drinks, in our diet from 10 percent to 6 percent of total calories. This would mean no more than 120 calories daily of added sugars based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
The work of the DGA Scientific Advisory Committee is now complete and the task of writing the Guidelines is the responsibility of a joint team of USDA and HHS staff. The final Dietary Guidelines will be submitted to the Secretaries of USDA and HHS for approval and anticipated public release by year-end.
As a nutrition professional, this is a holiday package I can’t wait to open!
Adapted from: The AgriNutrition Edge Report
Marianne Smith Edge, MS, RDN, LD, FADA, FAND, is a recognized nutrition and sustainability thought leader and a sixth-generation Kentucky farm owner. As founder and principal of The AgriNutrition Edge, LLC, she provides strategic counsel to food, health and agriculture organizations to better position themselves in restoring trust. Marianne is on the Board of Advisors for FLM Harvest and a senior associate for The Context Network. She is a published author and creator of the blog series, “Meet Me At The Table”, www.agrinutritionedge.com. Marianne is a former president of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.