January 25, 2021

USDA and HHS Release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

USDA and HHS Release the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Department of Human and Health Services (HHS) have published the 2020-2025 edition of The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). Every 5 years, USDA and HHS jointly publish a new edition of the DGA to provide science-based recommendations designed to foster healthy dietary patterns for Americans of all ages. This is the first year the DGA gave recommendations for those birth to 24 months of age. The theme for this edition of the DGA is to “Make Every Bite Count.” The DGA is created based on the guidance of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), made up of experts in the field. Dr. Teresa Davis, chair of the ASAS Public Policy Committee, was as a member of the 2020-2025 DGAC.

The guidelines are designed for use by healthcare professionals and policymakers for outreach to the general public and provide the nutritional foundation for federal nutrition programs. “The science tells us that good nutrition leads to better health outcomes, and the new dietary guidelines use the best available evidence to give Americans the information they need to make healthy decisions for themselves and their families,” said HHS Secretary Alex Azar. “USDA and HHS have expanded this edition of the dietary guidelines to provide new guidance for infants, toddlers, and pregnant and breastfeeding women, helping all Americans to improve their health, no matter their age or life stage.”

The guidelines recommend these four main overarching guidelines;

  • 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

“At USDA and HHS, we work to serve the American people – to help every American thrive and live healthier lives through access to healthy foods and providing nutrition recommendations,” said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, in a press release, “With the release of the dietary guidelines, we have taken the very important step to provide nutrition guidance that can help all Americans lead healthier lives by making every bite count.”

The Guidelines emphasis the importance of protein foods, including lean meats, poultry and eggs, as well as seafood, beans, peas, lentils, nuts, seeds, and soy products. Those in the livestock and agriculture industries have commended the newly released guidelines. The International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) President and CEO Michael Dykes stated in a press release, “The Dietary Guidelines confirm what the overwhelming body of science has been telling us for years—that dairy is one of the most nutritious foods available to people of all ages.” Likewise, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association’s (NCBA) President Marty Smith said "U.S. cattle producers appreciate the work of the committee, USDA and HHS on their sole focus on nutrition and science-based research to put together a set of recommendations that will benefit all Americans."

Check out more information about the DGA here and watch this video that gives a summary of the 2020-2025 Guidelines.