Dietary Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) help establish nutrition policies in the U.S. CRA supports DGAs as a resource for federal feeding programs and nutrition education, but we believe the DGAs must be derived from sound scientific evidence. CRA supports enhancing the scientific integrity of the DGA process by establishing a higher evidentiary standard beyond the current “preponderance” of scientific evidence.

The guidelines are published every five years jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), with input from outside experts. In response to concerns over the 2015 DGAs, Congress directed the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine to develop two reports on improving the DGA process. The first report was published in February 2017 and put forward four recommendations to reduce potential conflicts of interest or bias by outside experts who sit on the DGA advisory committee. The second report was published in September 2017 and put forward seven recommendations related to redesigning the DGA process. These recommendations addressed key issues seen in past guidelines, such as a lack of transparency and poor prioritization of topics for consideration.

The next installation of the DGAs are set to be published in 2020 and, for the first time, will include guidelines for infants, young children, and pregnant and lactating women. The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), once established, will review scientific literature for the final list of questions and topics from USDA and HHS as they develop their recommendations for the DGAs.