USDA, HHS release 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
On Dec. 29, 2020, the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA), 2020-2025, the two departments announced in a joint press release.
Updated 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. For the first time, DGA includes recommended healthy dietary patterns for infants and toddlers.
The guidelines are designed for use by healthcare professionals and policy makers for outreach to the general public and provide the nutritional foundation for federal nutrition programs. The dietary guidelines should not be considered clinical guidelines for the treatment of disease.
The new guidelines build on the previous editions and were informed by the scientific report developed by the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee, along with comments from the public and input from federal agencies.
According to USDA and HHS, the guidelines provide the public with the most up-to-date evidence on dietary behaviors that promote health and may help prevent chronic disease. Steeped in scientific evidence, the key recommendations look similar to those of the past and address two topics that garnered much attention throughout the development of the guidelines – added sugars and alcoholic beverages. Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025 carried forward the committee’s emphasis on limiting these dietary components, but did not include changes to quantitative recommendations, as there was not a preponderance of evidence in the material the committee reviewed to support specific changes, as required by law. As in previous editions, limited intake of these two food components is encouraged. In fact, this sentiment remains prominent throughout the policy document and complements the four overarching guidelines, which encourage Americans to “Make Every Bite Count” by:
• Following a healthy dietary pattern at every life stage;
• Customizing and enjoying nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations;
• Focusing on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages from five food groups – vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy and fortified soy alternatives, and proteins – and staying within calorie limits;
• Limiting foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat, and sodium, and limiting alcoholic beverages.
For consumers, USDA’s MyPlate translates and packages these principles of dietary guidance for Americans in a way that is handy and accessible. To share these messages broadly, USDA offers the Start Simple with MyPlate campaign and a new MyPlate website to help individuals, families, and communities make healthy food choices that are easy, accessible, and affordable, in addition to helping prevent chronic disease. For more information, please visit www.myplate.gov.