USDA Launches 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans
By RDBA Executive Director Annette Maggi, MS, RDN, LD, FAND
Make every bite count with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) is the tagline of the 2020-2025 version as launched on December 29th. While much of the newly released version aligns with the previous DGAs, there are subtle nuances as showcased in the following four focus areas:
- Follow a healthy dietary pattern at every stage. New in this DGA edition is introduction of recommendations for infants and toddlers as well as points about nutrition during pregnancy and lactation that impacts the child. Now, the guidelines cover every life stage.
- Customize and enjoy nutrient-dense food and beverage choices to reflect personal preferences, cultural traditions, and budgetary considerations. This point stresses that the dietary guidelines are built for all Americans and that the recommendations can be included in the foodways of all diverse cultures.
- Focus on meeting food group needs with nutrient-dense foods and beverages, and stay within calorie limits. The guidelines stress that 85% of calories should come from nutrient-dense foods.
- Limit foods and beverages higher in added sugars, saturated fat and sodium, and limit alcoholic beverages. While the DGA Scientific Committee recommended tighter limits on sugar and alcohol consumption, the USDA did not feel there was enough scientific support. Consumers should aim for less than 10% of calories for added sugar; men should consume no more than two drinks a day and women no more than one.
The 2020-2025 guidelines create some opportunities for retail dietitians. For example, the added guidance for expectant parents creates opportunities to engage this audience through social media and videos at a time in the lifespan when they are highly interested in nutrition. The recommendation to begin introduction of allergenic foods after six months of age is new information for expectant parents; retail RDs can offer virtual classes to address the appropriate introduction of foods starting at age six months. An e-commerce feature highlighting nutrient-dense foods that are budget friendly and/or culturally appropriate can drive impulse purchases online. With sugar-sweetened beverages as the primary contributor of added sugars, a class and focus on better beverage choices aligns with shopper focus on health in the early part of 2021 as well as the sober curious movement.
To review the full 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, click here.