Skip to main content

Work Under Way

Back to Timeline

Difference between the Scientific Report and the Dietary Guidelines

The Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans are not the same thing. The scientific report is a review of the body of science on nutrition and health conducted by external scientific experts for the U.S. government. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans is a Federal document written by the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services (HHS), containing food-based guidance for use by Federal programs for their nutrition initiatives. As USDA and HHS write the Dietary Guidelines, they consider the findings from the Committee’s scientific report, along with comments from the public and Federal agencies. The table below provides more details about the differences between the Committee’s scientific report and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

  Advisory Committee Scientific Report Dietary Guidelines for Americans
What is it? A rigorous review of current nutrition science with a focus on dietary patterns to help promote health and reduce risk of disease Evidence-based guidance on choosing a healthy diet to promote health and reduce the risk of chronic disease for all Americans
Author Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee USDA and HHS
Audience USDA and HHS

Government nutrition program leaders and policymakers

Nutrition and health professionals to support communications to the general public


Used by USDA and HHS to inform the development of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans

Identifies evidence gaps

Provides the foundation for nutrition programs and policies as well as nutrition education materials for the general public.