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2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Food Pattern Modeling

Food pattern modeling is one of three scientific approaches that the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee used in its review of the scientific evidence. Food pattern modeling analysis helped the Advisory Committee understand how changes to food-based dietary recommendations could potentially impact Americans’ ability to meet their nutrient needs. 

This page provides information about the food pattern modeling results in the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and provides the online-only food pattern modeling supplements. These supplements contain detailed information on the steps involved in each exercise conducted to address the three scientific questions answered by the Advisory Committee. It also includes the food pattern modeling question protocols developed by the Committee prior to its review of the analyses.   

Food Pattern Modeling Results

The 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee used food pattern modeling to address the scientific questions listed in the table below. The Advisory Committee’s findings are summarized in the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and can be found in the Report chapters as outlined below. 

Question Scientific Report Chapter

1. [For 2 years and older] Are changes to the USDA Food Patterns needed based on the relationships identified in the systematic reviews? If so, how well do USDA Food Pattern variations meet nutrient recommendations for each stage of life? If nutrient needs are not met, is there evidence to support supplementation and/or consumption of fortified foods to meet nutrient adequacy?

Part D: Chapter 14

2. [For those under 2 years of age] Can USDA Food Patterns be established based on the relationships identified in the systematic reviews? If so, how well do USDA Food Pattern variations meet nutrient recommendations for infants and toddlers? If nutrient needs are not met, is there evidence to support supplementation and/or consumption of fortified foods to meet nutrient adequacy?

Part D: Chapter 7
3. How much added sugars can be accommodated in a healthy diet while still meeting food group and nutrient needs? Part D: Chapter 12

Food Pattern Modeling Supplements

The online-only food pattern modeling supplements can be found through the links below. These supplements were prepared by the food pattern modeling team for the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee to support its review of the scientific evidence. 

Food Pattern Modeling Protocols

Prior to analyzing the data, the Advisory Committee, with support from the food pattern modeling team, developed a protocol for how each question would be answered using food pattern modeling. The protocol, or plan, included the analytic framework that described the overall scope and the approach used to answer the question, and an analytic plan that detailed the data and subsequent analysis to be considered. These protocols can be found through the links below. 

The analytic results can be found in the Scientific Report of the 2020 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee and through the online-only data analysis supplements linked above.