2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans: What’s Different?

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The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are here, and we've got all the resources you need to make them accessible to you clients. Just in case you haven't seen what we've gotten so far, here are a few of our top posts about this edition of the guidelines...

Next in our series, we're going to take a look at how this edition is different from the scientific report of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee. We'll also explore how this edition is different from previous editions. So let's get cracking...

First let's look at how this edition varies from the scientific report, which was released this past summer.

There's only one major difference between the key aspects of the report and the 2020-2025 guidelines that used it as a jumping-off point. That difference is in added sugars. The scientific report proposed limiting added sugars to no more than 6% of total calories, a significant reduction from the 10% limit advised in the 2015-2020 edition. However, the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans kept the limit at 10% of total calories.

There are, however, many significant differences between the 2015-2020 and the 2020-2025 editions of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Let's look at those next...

Perhaps the biggest change is the "lifespan approach" adopted by the newest version fo the guidelines. Rather than only addressing people age 2 and older, with little special guidance for pregnancy and breastfeeding (which is what the 2015-2020 edition did) the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans looks at science for the whole lifespan, starting at birth. It also includes special sections on breastfeeding and pregnancy.

Another significant difference in this edition is its stronger emphasis on adaptation to different preferences and cultures. "The Dietary Guidelines is meant to be adaptable to personal preferences, cultural foodways and budgetary considerations. The Dietary Guidelines framework purposely provides recommendations by food groups and subgroups—not specific foods and beverages—to avoid being prescriptive. This framework approach ensures that people can “make it their own” by selecting healthy foods, beverages, meals, and snacks specific to their needs and preferences." The 2015-2020 edition took steps in this direction but the 2020-2025 edition took it to the next level.

Of course, there are lots of other changes, including recognizing the growing impact of chronic disease. According to the Executive Summary, the 2020-2025 version of the Dietary Guidelines recognizes that "diet-related chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer, are very prevalent among Americans and pose a major public health problem. Today, more than half of adults have one or more diet-related chronic diseases. As a result, recent editions of the Dietary Guidelines have focused on healthy individuals, as well as those with overweight or obesity and those who are at risk of chronic disease."

Have you noticed other big changes from the past editions or scientific reports? Let us know! And if you're looking for resources to help your clients understand the guidelines, check out our online store!

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