By Rachel Lane
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sugar and alcohol are among two of the changes being recommending in the current 2020 Dietary Guidelines of America, DGA.
On July 16, the USDA and the Department of Health and Human Services released the preliminary 2020 Dietary Guidelines report. They are accepting public comments on the 835 page document until Aug. 13. Those comments will be used to finalize the DGA.
The final version of the DGA is used by schools, hospitals and other government food programs, said Scott Bennett, director of congressional relations at the American Farm Bureau. The report is still being reviewed, but, so far, no one involved in the review process has announced any serious concerns.
The current recommendation cuts calories from sugar almost in half. Instead of getting 10 percent of daily calories from sugar, the new report recommends less than 6 percent of calories come from sugar. The 2015 guidelines recommended no more than one alcoholic beverage a day for women and two for men. The new DGA recommends no more than one drink for men per day.
The 2015 report was released with some controversy surrounding if sustainability should be considered when developing the guidelines, Bennett said. That report and the 2020 DGA do not take sustainable food sources into consideration.
The dairy industry still has concerns. The Wisconsin-based American Dairy Coalition (ADC) released a reporting stating the saturated fat guidelines effectively ban whole fat milk from daycares and school nutrition programs.
Bennett said the DGA are used to plan school meals. When trying to make sure students have a balanced and healthy diet, the person planning the meals is looking for ways to keep calories in meals lower. Not offering whole fat milk is an easy way to cut back, but whole milk has health benefits.
“We think the beverage of milk shouldn’t count toward the calories count,” he said. “Whole milk tastes better. Children are more likely to finish it. It is better throughput for the farmers and better nutrition for the children.”
The AFB supports offering flavored milk options, too, he said.
For the first time, the report offers some guidelines for infants and pregnant women, Bennett said.
The report states that over 50 percent of pregnant women aren’t getting enough protein. Pregnant women also need to increase their fruit and vegetable intake and decrease their sugar consumption.
Additional transparency has been added to the process with the 2020 DGA. A list of common questions and a review of the process is available on the DGA website, deitaryguidelines.gov.
Public comments can also be submitted through the website. Bennett said over 63,000 comments have already been submitted.