The 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – Here’s How You Can Help Improve Them

2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

This is a guest blog post by Lori Kaley, MS, RD, LD, MSB.

It’s that time again! By law, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) are reviewed, updated and published every five years jointly by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This process takes several years to complete so fairly soon after the last edition of the DGA are released, which for the 2010 DGA was on January 31, 2011, a new Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC) is appointed and begins work on the next edition. The charge to the DGAC is to review the most current scientific and medical literature and provide recommendations.

This review process is already underway. The first public meeting of the 2015 DGAC was held on June 13-14, 2013. It is important to note that this is an open and public process, one in which you can participate, should you choose to do so. I was able to participate in this two day meeting via webcast. Also, you can now submit comments online regarding the 2015 DGA.

There are some limitations to the comments submission process to keep in mind, though. You have 20 minutes, will need to choose from one of 12 topics (or other), comments are limited to 5,000 characters, and if you want to upload a document, the file size cannot exceed 20 MB.

What I learned during the first meeting and found most interesting were the topics that Work Group 3 listed as a high priority (there are also medium and low priority topics) to revisit and those to newly consider for their report. At the time of the first meeting, the listing of these priorities was a preliminary one, open for discussion. The three Work Groups of the 2015 DGAC are:

  • Work Group 1: Environmental Determinants of Food, Diet, and Health
  • Work Group 2: Dietary Patterns and Quality and Optimization through Lifestyle Behavior Change
  • Work Group 3: Foods, Beverages, and Nutrients and Their Impact on Health Outcomes

Topics to revisit – High priority:

  • Sodium
  • Omega-3 fatty acid (seafood)
  • Fortified foods and beverages
    • Impact on consumption
  • Trans fatty acids, partially-hydrogenated oils, ruminant fats
  • Processed meats
  • Dairy products
  • Whole fruit/juice

New topics for consideration:

  • Food/nutrients and cognitive function
  • GMO foods and clinical outcomes
  • Nutrient overconsumption and clinical outcomes (fortified foods and beverages/supplements)
  • Foods/supplements and physical activity/athletic performance
  • Sugar sweetened beverages
  • Gene-nutrient/gene-food interactions

The idea behind the high priority areas is that the science is still unsettled; these are areas requiring further study with regards to their impact on health outcomes. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is an important document that provides dietary recommendations for Americans to help achieve and maintain a healthy weight, promote health, and prevent disease. It also provides the basis for federal and nutrition policy and education initiatives. Show your keen interest in food and nutrition by submitting comments during the process of creating the 8th edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Lori Kaley HeadshotLori Kaley, MS, RD, LD, MSB is Managing Director with the LA Sutherland Group providing food and nutrition science, communication and policy strategic counsel to private and public organizations.

  • The Candid RD

    How wonderful, thanks for this post! I definitely want to submit some suggestions…..I think it’s great that they actually listen to the public’s opinions!