By Kate Dixon
(updated July 25, 2019)
The process for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) is underway. Please read our blog posts on the meetings of the Advisory Committee to stay abreast of progress, issues, and concerns.
Ways to Get Involved in the Guidelines Process
Attend a Committee Meeting:
All meetings are open to the public. To attend either in person or via webcast, registration is required.
The first meeting was held on March 28-29, in Washington, D.C. Our blog post of that meeting is on our website, here. The second meeting was held July 10-11, also in Washington, D.C. Our Executive Director, Nina Teicholz, made an oral comment at that meeting. See here for more.
Submit a Public Comment:
As of March 12, public comments are being accepted, and this comment period will last through early 2020. It is imperative that the public get involved in this process to ensure that the advisory committee uses rigorous systematic reviews of the science in the development of the Guidelines. This has not always been the case in the past, as noted in a critical 2017 report by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Details on the findings of that report with regard to the lack of scientific rigor in previous Guidelines can be found here.
Comments (identified by Docket FNS-2019-0001) can be submitted either electronically or via regular mail to:
USDA Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services
Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion
3101 Park Center Drive, Room 1034
Alexandria, VA 22302
For access to Docket FNS-2019-0001 to read background documents or comments received, go to www.regulations.gov and enter in the FNS number in the search bar.
Suggested Comments/Questions for the Committee:
The Nutrition Coalition is founded upon the hope that nutrition policy will be backed by sound science. This is our sole aim for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines.
Here are some of our concerns:
USDA says it is using a rigorous methodology, called “GRADE,” to review the science, but the co-founder of GRADE himself wrote in a public comment saying that the methodology being used fell far short of the GRADE standard in fundamental ways and was unlikely to produce “trustworthy” Guidelines.
A leading expert on systematic reviews specifically in nutrition wrote a public comment stating that the USDA’s reviews do not meet basic standards for systematic review methodology.
How will the Committee deal with having a 7th Day Adventist among its members? This church group promotes a vegetarian diet on the basis of religion, not science.
What will the Committee do regarding its review of dietary fats, one of the topics specified to be covered for the 2020 Guidelines, when no member of the committee appears to have any particular expertise in this area (except for perhaps omega 3 fatty acids)?
As the committee moves forward, the Nutrition Coalition will continue to suggest comments and questions for potential submission. Subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay informed. Don’t miss an opportunity to have your voice be heard in the development of the Guidelines. We need everyone to speak up.