Public comments pour in at second Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee meeting
The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) gathered July 10 for the second of five meetings as they prepare to make recommendations to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for writing the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
In their meeting, the group of nutrition experts welcomed more than three hours of testimony from over 75 commenters. Many of the comments focused on a need for balance in dietary recommendations, with some commentators sharing concern over high carbohydrate and sodium consumption in the United States.
Animal products and animal product-alternatives were an important topic during the meeting. Representatives from the American Egg Board expressed concern that “meatless” burgers on the market are too saturated with sodium and fat. Representatives from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association shared research showing that diets that include red meat support health. Meanwhile, a group representing dairy-free athletes spoke against dairy recommendations in the current dietary guidelines.
Comments also focused on how dietary guidelines could contribute to greenhouse gas emissions and climate change.
Congress has mandated that dietary guidelines be updated every five years. The testimony will be considered as the committee assembles the scientific evidence to answer 40 scientific questions on nutrition and health. These 40 questions are key to forming guidelines that the USDA and HHS will use to inform efforts such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program’s nutrition education programs and Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food packages.
The committee will meet three more times, with the last meeting held on March 2020. Their report will be completed by May 2020, and USDA and HHS will release the next edition of dietary guidelines by December 2020. The committee includes ASAS member Teresa Davis, a professor at Baylor College of Medicine.